Culture Of Communication
To communicate is to be in the culture of expression. Culture signifies creativity and identity in antiquity. While communication connects people, miscommunication communicates to disconnect people from accuracy of information. Hence communication is conditioned by context and intention, including Bharat-muni’s rasa theory that looks into sentiments and emotions that stir ideas, thoughts and reactions, with or without responding in public.
Most individual and institutional decisions are personal, consensual or divided. Communication is not only what is messaged but also how it is developed, mobilised, conducted and assessed. Spontaneity in conversion, conviction in multiculturalism and contraditictions in comments should be carefully analysed for appropriate conclusions. Messaging is generally easy, the effects unpredictable and the consequences far-reaching in depth and duration. The will to deliver the intended message with the intended desire aimed at the intended target, together with unity of preparation, delivery of the message as well as its timing, pace and effect are some of the elements of communication. This aspect of human life is inherently accompanied by rich prospects and heavy pitfalls, depending upon how communication is conducted.
Some sections of society view communication channels as instruments for preparing propaganda and propagating comments. Cuture is essentially tied to communication. Arranging the atmospherics for agenda-setting entails an arduous undertaking that only painstaking persistence can hope to extract dividends. Often instability is in the mind and the atmospherics rather than in real earnest and seriousness.
Some lose a point in argument or campaign even when having something substantive to say; others seemingly get away disseminating nothing but bubbles of empty slogan and yet leaving behind an impression that one does have priority for “key issues”. Regular channels are bypassed in Nepal for the most informal routes to sensitive issues. This is not an outcome of any conscious course for the larger interests of a community and breakthrough for casual and inexperienced reasons as well as incompetence of people in powerful places. The consequence can cover constant erosion in the country’s credibility in the comity of nations.
The European Union often works in unison to exert pressure on other governments and/or groups to underscore their own priorities. The NGOs and INGOs it sponsors are activated to push its agendas. Hence elaborate preparations are made and vast sums of money get spent, embracing preplanned communication; exploratory communication; preliminary communication; investigative communication; goodwill/public relations communication; public communication; insitutional communication; and private communication.
Individuals and institutions adopt approaches to communication on the basis of the instruments available at their disposal, which in turn is guided by resources, technical knowhow and conditions. Topicality integrity and density determine the scale of gatekeeping, and fact-based as well as newsworthy ingredients, dished out on the basis of professional principles associated with public expectations. Professional factors pertain to also dateline, deadline, proximity, balance, follow-ups, and indepth, interpretive and investigative stories. Speed and stages related to gathering and arranging information, refining and packaging and platform for dissemination—with or without a medium—are also covered in the entire process.
Communication is an art, inherently accompanied by risks and opportunity. Messaging is generally easy, the effects unpredictable and consequences far-reaching in depth and duration. The will to deliver the intended message with the intended desire to the intended, based on unity of preparation, timing, pace and effect as well as the state of mind of all individuals of the whole gaumt of communication universe determine the quality of information transaction. Instability, often, is in the mind and the atmospherics rather than content. Some lose even when having something substantive to say, others seemingly get away stating nothing but bubbles of empty slogan and yet leaving behind an impression that he does have priority for the “key issues”.
Regular channels are bypassed in Nepal for the most informal routes to sensitive issues, and are treated as instruments of promoting individual and institutional propaganda. This is not an outcome of a conscious course for the larger interest of diplomatic mileage and breakthrough for casual and inexperienced reasons as well as incompetence of people in powerful places. The consequence can cover constant erosion in the country’s credibility in the comity of nations.
The above aspects call for not only indepth studies and investigation but also probe into cross-cutting issues within the declared goal and publicly known objectives of an organisation. The primacy and public portrait of professional press entails an exacting exercise aimed at the best with speed. Energy for depth and eye for detail are what are asked for. In the news media, the principle is that information sovereignty preceeds editorial sovereignty. For the sanctity of information has to be maintained. Empire of expression is vast, complex and complicated, with equally vast and varied shades, including coded comunication. Dialogue is a two-way translation of messages whose meanings the beholder filters and interpretes on the basic of his or her background and experiece, or an individual or community’s general perception and orientation. State relates to existing conditions and context whereas “frame” covers background and the beholder’s foreknowledge. Retaining information one agrees to or rejects is like an echo-chamber effect.
Silence, for instance, has its meaning depending upon a given situation and context. Silence not only speaks but also smiles, screams and spares. It may be unintended and yet meaningful. What warrants special emphasis in Eastern perspectives is that the Hindu ethos is grounded in spiritualism. Curiosity begins with silent questions, which in turn create potential for creations. Mahatma Gandhi maintained silence for a whole day every week. Such silence enables an individual to attain self-realisation and to awaken sense of self-purification as well as freedom from distractive sentiments, devotion, enlightenment and self-effacement.
Conviction, with conscience as the constituency—and not the compulsion or distractive allurement—goes a long way in establishing one’s course of action, public image and credibility. Individual identity in the presence of diversity can be promoted through fair and easy access to information and opportunity, application and active participation in community activity. Individual, community, social and national identities mean mutual respect and commitment to encourage them all to bloom and prosper with the bonds of linkages founded on tolerance and practices that are free from manipulation and domination.
Lack of access and forum means being disenfranchised from social, economic, political and cultural participation; lack of feedback means absence of response; and lack of action means absence of fair verdict. An agency of communication for miscommunication is the result. Dense attention and engagement means concentration in both nonverbal communication and verbal communication.
Receiver’s ability to process information is important. Media saturated society such as ours in the 21st century. Political parties are deluded by their own media contents to see the non-existent stability and the missing economic prosperity. As an empirical discipline as well as an intellectual activity, the business of communication includes the study of institutions, procedures, policies and priorities, contributing to citizenry. Hence communication leads to education, and education sharpens communication content and process for aiding individual or societal curiosity.
(Former chief editor of The Rising Nepal, P. Kharel has been writing for this daily since 1973)