Visthar Media Research and Activist Forum® was born as a result of decades of media

research found that the seamless boundaries of media content and activism converge at the

last frontiers of robust, professionally guided vigorous research.

Be it a press conference or documentary filmmaking, radio talks or photo shoots, thorough

research of facts, concepts helps in lending more weight, more credibility of the content.

The content can engage the reader / viewer / listener or interactive participant only if it

retains the focus and attention of the target audience. In the era of the internet and 24X7

TV channels the role of robust research in retaining the attention span of the discrete

viewer / listener / reader is very challenging for us in the Fourth Estate.

Such robust professionally focussed research enhances the weight and credibility of media

content and can actually constructively contribute to creating solutions. Media being the

fourth pillar of Democracy when backed with research and resources for proactive

constructive activism can contribute a mighty bit to the strengthening of society. Activism

ought to take off where Media trails off due to professional detachment. Credible content

can win over an antagonist with reasonable and plausible – wholly plausible perspectives.

While death penalty is an extreme form of sensational debate for instance, robust debate

avoiding sensationalism can help us atleast reach plausible solutions…similarly the question

of indigenous peoples… politically right perspectives apart, questions need to be asked,

solutions need to be found…. Towards this end indeed the Media is a powerful tool for

change. Imagine treating such issues in robust multimedia engagement… I have reason to

believe that sustained credible campaigns can stymie the rot in the corrupt world order.

Enforcement against symptoms only is not going to provide solutions unless the root cause

is eliminated – be it any disorder, drugs, death penalty or diabetes.

This is my experience as a freelance photojournalist, writer and filmmaker remains the

challenge staring at Media / Fourth Estate. Issues ranging from biodiversity to indigenous

peoples’ issues, water and sanitation, poverty, wildlife issues, climate change, public health

issues, freedom from corruption needs intellectual engagement and exercising of the non-

linear parametres within the skull of intelligent humans – to find lasting solutions for the

conflicts plaguing humanity.

I have myself reported on anthropogenic conflict in a biodiversity hotspot – the Western

Ghats in India, I have reported on indigenous people, developmental polemics, enviro legal

issues, public health, poverty being the montage for HIV, compensatory afforestation and

the politics of reforestation, unsustainable fisheries, application of scientific tools for

development, sustainable development, disaster management climate change and cropping

patterns solid waste management, water crisis, poaching of wildlife, habitat destruction

human animal conflict and so on for 2.5 decades. After I started contribution to IPS in 2007

my exposure, engagement and understanding of global issues increased, while

simultaneously reinforcing my determination to find solutions. Knowing the shortfalls and

challenges we in the Media face, I honed my skills to make credible content plausible in the

journey towards universal solutions…

These are the thoughts that marinated in my chest for atleast two decades and then I

requested for like – minded thinkers to join hands and sign up for registration of a not for

profit organisation – Visthar Media Research and Activist Forum. I do passionately hope that

we will be able to put together credible research based solutions to the ills facing our

planet. Integral, inclusive growth is the backbone of a prosperous society. The Media plays a

pivotal role in such growth.

To be able to reach out / preach to the unconverted we need not just the reach and

dexterity of different media…. Print media, photos, web, advertising, radio, TV and social

media … but also constructive / proactive well guided activism to supplement intellectual

engagement.  This kind of proactive activism and constructive engagement we hope will also

lead to capacity building of human resources that need to be engaged for universal


Even passive activism like documentation can be progressive and constructive. It also makes

for meaty media content! That should explain why the Media needs activists – to energise

its content… On that note, cheers to winning your trust and support to do better than our

best…It is also our fond hope that our media content will inspire change… inspiring

independent activism…

Malini Shankar,





Posted on

September 23, 2015

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