October 14, 2016, India: Urging the media to play a more constructive role in society, the panelists at the inaugural Aster Media Awards reiterated the immense impact that journalism of the positive kind can have on the nation.

Participating in a discussion with Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare & Founder and Managing Trustee of Aster DM Foundation and Shri. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Prof. P.J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha said, “Members of the media need to focus beyond the negative and highlight positive developments. Journalists have to work in ‘’mission’’ mode as it influences people’s way of thinking, influences government and all other constituents.” He added that many good speeches and positive discussions in the Rajya Sabha were usually not covered by the media.

Agreeing with Prof. Kurien, Shri. Amitabh Kant said “Media, especially television, is focusing on sensationalism and not reflecting the collective views of society. There is plenty of tremendous work being done by start-ups in health sector but it does not get covered well in the media.”

He acknowledged the need for an award like the Aster Media Awards which applauds journalism with social impact. Dr. Azad Moopen said, “There is a need for media to focus on what is required which can be the impetus for change in society.”
Commenting as part of a panel at the Aster Media Awards ceremony, Shri. Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to Hon’ble President of India said, “Media educates people, points deficiencies and highlights success stories. It is important to keep media close to healthcare as an ally and this could have a multiplier effect.” Illustrating an example, Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Distinguished Professor, Public Health Foundation of India said, “More children have been immunized in India than anywhere in the world in the last one year but few in India are aware of this wonderful achievement!”

Dr. Syeda Hameed, Former Member of the Planning Commission said, “Media is increasingly being inclusive and now journalists go to far-off areas capturing developments unfolding in these places.” Dr. M.C. Misra, Director, AIIMS, said, “Media needs role models to attract good people like any other profession.” He also urged the media to provide more coverage to health-related issues for enhanced awareness. Responding to this concern, Dr. Azad Moopen said, “Technology is a great enabler for awareness. With India’s diverse challenges and remote locations, healthcare can also delivered smartly. In a country where mobile telephony empowered Indians in less than a decade, healthcare services can be dispensed with smart use of technology such as telemedicine.”

The Aster Media Awards is conceptualized by Aster DM Foundation in recognition of the impact of mainstream media in shaping public awareness, acknowledgement and action in the social sector. The first edition of awards were adjudicated by an independent jury comprising Shri. Venu Rajamony – Press Secretary to the Hon’ble President of India, Ms. Shahnaz Pakrawan – Founder of SP Productions and former newsreader of BBC, Mr. Rajrishi Singhal – Senior Fellow, Geo-economics studies, Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations and former Executive Editor of the Economic Times and Mr. Rahul Sharma- President of Rediffusion Communications and Former Editor of Khaleej Times, Dubai.

About Aster DM Foundation
Aster DM Foundation is the umbrella under which the corporate social responsibility activities of Aster DM Healthcare, a leading healthcare provider in India and GCC, is undertaken. Dr. Azad Moopen is the Founder and Managing Trustee of Aster DM Foundation. The activities of the Foundation are targeted in India, Middle East, Africa, Philippines and Afghanistan. These programmes include Free Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Programme (Save The Little Heart), Early Diseases Detection & Cancer Screening Centres (EDDCs), Community Dialysis Centres (CDCs), Radiation Oncology Centres, Doctor on Calls “Mobile Clinics”, Health & Safety Awareness Programme, Free or Subsidized Treatments and MILES Village Adoption – Health Intervention. “Aster Safe Roads” is an ongoing initiative which focuses on creating awareness about road safety.