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25th edition of Wan-Ifra India begins in Chennai

13 September 2017

The Silver Jubilee edition of the annual Wan-Ifra India Conference started with an equal note of concern and optimism on 13 September in Chennai at Hotel ITC Grand Chola. The event is on until 14 September.

img-20170913-094238943-1 The inauguration ceremony of the Wan-Ifra India Conference 2017

While the buoyancy of the newspaper market in India was a cause to celebrate, the threat to journalists the world over was a cause of concern for the delegates at the event. The same sentiment was expressed by David Callaway, CEO, The Street Inc, USA, during his keynote address on the first day.

“I have been a fan of Indian democracy, the vibrancy of its media and journalism, but sadly the vibrancy is under threat similar to other countries like Turkey and Mexico, with the latest twin murders last week, including that of Gauri Lankesh,” he said.

Meanwhile, Somesh Sharma, president, Indian Newspaper Society and chief executive, Rashtradoot, highlighted how print in India has been grieving in spite of momentous 12 months for the newspaper industry. He cited policies like GST, demonetisation, digital governance, and others as reasons. On the positive aspect, he said, "India had 19 dailies among the top 100 paid newspapers in the world last year.” 

The conference is an annual meeting point of news publishers in South Asia and includes two parallel conference tracks, learning workshops, South Asian Digital Media Awards (SDMA), plant visit and expo.

The conference, themed ‘Driving the media business into future’, features presentations from leading editors and media executives on topics such as journalism, fake news, artificial intelligence, readership development through big data, printing in digital era, operational efficiency and cost reduction in newspaper printing plants, high value products, automated distribution systems and optimised paper handling.

The list of speakers include Mukund Padmanabhan, editor, The Hindu, Shadi Rahimi, senior producer, Al Jazeera, USA, Bella Hurrell,  assistant editor, BBC News, UK, Basant Rathore, senior VP, strategic planning, brand and business development, Jagran Group and Michael Kiesswetter, managing director of Rheinische Post AdLog, Germany.

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