Media Influences on Interreligious Dialogue

Abstract:

The very existence of multiple religions gives rise to the necessity of dialogue between and among them. The case for dialogue got a great push in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent happenings in different parts of the world. For dialogue is one of the most significant tools to usher in a semblance of peace and normalcy and give hope to the increasingly divided world. What should impel religions to enter into dialogue is their love for humanity and its well-being, especially when humanity is faced with a host of insurmountable issues and problems such as climate change, economic recession, famines, natural disasters, poverty, scarcity of natural resources and the ever-present threat of nuclear war and the subsequent annihilation. India is a cradle of many religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. India is also home to religions which were founded outside – Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism – which were welcomed with open arms ages ago. This openness has been diminishing in the recent times. As such there is an urgent need for inter-religious dialogue. Globally media in general is progressive and they have played a crucial role in promoting inter-religious dialogue. Of course, pockets of media houses may have remained neutral or played a negative role. Until nine years ago Indian media too may have played a great role in promoting religious dialogue and harmony in India. A sustained inter-religious dialogue is the great need of the hour and an objective media can play a great role. The theoretical framework for this paper revolves around the concept of mediation, which is regarded as a communicative concept that emphasizes the socializing power of the mass media as well as its potential contribution to social cohesion.

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