US State Dept to teach Indian journos ‘honesty, impartiality’

Reuters/Edgar Su
The US Consulate in Hyderabad is set to team up with a non-profit organization to create an ethics course in journalism. It is aimed at allowing those in the Indian media to get a better knowledge and understanding of “international industry standards.”

The State Department wants the course to include the key standard bearers of quality international journalism, such as “accuracy, honesty, transparency, impartiality and accountability.” It says it is prepared to spend up to $25,000 on achieving this goal.

Whether in a touch of irony or not, they even propose naming the course ‘blurred lines’ after Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit.

The grant document form the US mission in India detailing the course, says that the program should teach journalists to “keep their readership informed, hold all accountable, filter fact from fiction, and unmask false narratives masquerading as truth.”

The State Department is looking to find a fulltime employee to produce a curriculum and then devise a syllabus for the Indian students. They are also want to get on board a professor of journalism, who is based at a US university to be a consultant in helping with the development of the course.

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The consultant would be required to travel to India at least three times to meet with the Indian university co-coordinating the program, observe work experience in media outlets and give a three-day seminar on the new course.

Three Indian Universities, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha have been chosen to be partners in the project so far. However, the State Department plans to make the material from the new course available to its other diplomatic offices around the country, where they would participate with Indian universities in their own area.

The State Department already runs the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, which brings more than 75 non-US journalists to the United States every year to explore issues such as freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy.