The Religion and Communication Working Group will be holding elections for one chair and one vice-chair positions, for the term 2023 – 2027.
The elections will be held online from 24 May until 14 June using the SurveyMonkey platform.
Individual members and representatives of institutional members in good standing, who are also registered as members of the Religion and Communication working group will be eligible to stand for a position and to vote. To verify if you are a member of the REC working group, log in to your account and click on "My Sections and Working Groups".
The deadline to receive candidate statements was 17 May.
The current Head is made up of a chair and two vice-chairs, namely Yoel Cohen and Míriam Díez Bosch. We were saddened by the passing of the working group's previous chair, Binod Agrawal, in March 2023. Additionally, Yoel Cohen's term as vice-chair will end in 2023.
Read about the Religion and Communication Working Group
More information and timeline at https://iamcr.org/s-wg/elections2023
- Tilak Jha (Times School of Media, Bennett University, India)
- Victor Khroul (Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia)
- Joseph Muyangata (Light of the World Bible School / Full Gospel Tabernacle International, United States)
- Krishna Sankar Kusuma (AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, India)
Yoel Cohen (The School of Communication, Ariel University, Israel)
Having completed four years as a co-chair of the Religion & Communication working group of the International Association for Communication & Media Research (IAMCR), I seek re-election for Chair or Vice-Chair of the working group.
Over the last couple of years, the Religion &Communication working group has advanced in a number of directions. The working group attracts more attendances today. For example, in the forthcoming Lyons conference, the Religion & Communication working group received over 50 submissions. The criterion for paper acceptance has been that the paper should embrace both Media and Religion. But the significance of the Religion & Communication working group is that it is an international forum where a variety of faith traditions and approaches are discussed - reflecting the international cosmopolitan character of the IAMCR itself. It contrasts with other fora where the focus is upon the Western monotheistic faiths and where much of the qualitative research concerns the USA. We encourage early researchers to have the opportunity to present their research internationally.
The Religion & Communication working group welcomes a broad range of academic approaches. While, for example, the Media, Religion, & Culture group is identified with the culturalist tradition in media and religion research, the working group seeks to be a forum of a broad range of research traditions.
My book, God, Jews & the media: Religion & Israel's media was published by Routledge Publishers in 2012. It discusses various aspects about the interface of media and religion in the Israeli Jewish context - from religion coverage in the secular Israeli media, and religious media; to ethical theological questions about media behaviour; to the use of Internet among religious communities; advertising trends in the religious sector; the role of the media in the Jewish diaspora; and foreign media coverage of the Holyland.
I graduated in International Relations from London University, and wrote my doctorate examining the role of the news media in British foreign policy, under the supervision of the media sociologist Professor Jeremy Tunstall of City University London - which evolved into Media Diplomacy: the Foreign Office in the mass communications age (Frank Cass Publishers, 1986). Parallel to my doctoral research, I studied Talmudic and Aramaic Literature at Jews' College London, then the leading rabbinic seminary in the UK. My book, Media Diplomacy was followed by Whistleblowers and the Bomb: Vanunu, Israel & Nuclear Secrecy (Pluto Press) about Mordechai Vanunu's disclosure of Israel's nuclear secrets to the London Sunday Times. The book appeared in six different book imprints including in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and German.
Over the last twenty years my research has focused upon different aspects of media and religion, and has been published in the Journal of Media and Religion; Encyclopaedia of Religion, Communication & Media; The Handbook of Media & Mass Communication Theory, etc.
Yoel Cohen is a full professor on the faculty of The School of Communication, Ariel University, Israel (school chairman 2009-11).
During my period as vice-chair, I am proud that under my chairmanship our working group published two important books. In 2018 Spiritual News; Reporting Religion Around the World, published by Peter Lang Publishers, provides the first truly international comparative academic reader on the coverage of religion reporting around the world. This year The Handbook of Religion & Communication was published by John Wiley, comprising 33 from noted scholars. The book examines how different religions relate to mass media; media cultural issues like advertising and public relations; news and religion; film and religion; entertainment and religion; televangelism; and cultural perspectives such as material religion; gender and race; and authority and religion and the media. Both books which I edited, include chapters from members of the working group.
In seeking re-election as Chair, among goals which I wish to advance include that as the Religion & Communication working group grows that its status inside the IAMCR move to become a fully-fledged section.
In addition, that the working group initiate an on-line `noticeboard' - a clearing-house for information about media and religion including upcoming events like conferences, new publications and research, and related developments within the media or religious institutions.
Tilak Jha (Times School of Media, Bennett University, India)
I am Dr. Tilak Jha, a former BBC Journalist and Asian Future Leaders Scholar, currently an Associate Professor of Journalism at Times School of Media, Bennett University. Times School of Media has a special place among journalism schools in India as it is run by India’s biggest media house, The Times of India Group – which is at the top of nearly all the media vertical in India, including newspaper, TV, radio, internet, advertising and outdoor advertising.
As for my interest in religion and communication, I have been working on this dimension over the past several years and have gained significant exposure in this direction.
In my reporting days, I closely and actively covered the issues related to the Tibetan religion and politics in India and China. I interacted with all the factions of the entire brass of Tibetan leadership in India and was usually the first point of contact for bringing a fair and balanced coverage of their concerns.
My academic exposures related to religion and communication includes a paper presentation at the 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Aug 22), a publication of my paper in the Proceeding and abstract book of the Fifth International Conference on Israel and Judaism Studies (Dec 2021), a certificate course entitled "Doing Research on Religion in Social Sciences" by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Jan 22) and a "Yoga & Meditation Training Programme" by Gandhi Bhawan, University of Delhi (July 21-Jan 22). Courtesy a certificate course from University of Edinburg in Philosophy, I also teach an introductory paper on philosophy to film students at our school.
I have closely followed the developments related to religion and communication at the G-20 summit in Indonesia and the emerging religious rapprochement in the Middle East.
As a SPOC of International Relations and Outreach efforts of my school, I also work closely with a host of universities and research institutions and stakeholders from across the world on all aspects of communication. One of our closest partners include Ca Foscari University, Venice, Israel Embassy in India and Isha Foundation.
As a part of the leadership of the IAMCR Religion and Communication Working Group, I would be an asset for your team in bringing a holistic perspective on related debates and sharing the workload that may come.
I believe that any organisation grows with two key inputs - vision and process innovation. A vision which is inclusive and comprehensive, and innovation – which is not only aimed at delivering the end result but also step wise betterment. As a highly creative person who is deeply involved in his work, I have brought professionalism with informality in everything I do - from teaching and research to interactions and friendships.
I am a great colleague who deeply values relationships of integrity and uprightness which is aimed at bringing greater welfare of the life and being that we all are.
I would be glad to further discuss my ideas on the above themes and look forward to hearing back from you. I would follow up in a fortnight from now on it.
Dr. Tilak Jha
Victor Khroul (Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia)
My academic career (full professor and the principal investigator of local and international research projects in the field of media and communications conducted at Lomonosov Moscow State University and Russian National Research University Higher School of Economics – leading research institutions in Russia) seemed to be successful and out of risk.
But Russian invasion in Ukraine made impossible not only academic carrier in Russia but also my physical presence there. I fled Russia on the 8th of March 2022 because of a new amendments to Criminal code presuming a prison sentence up to 15 years for the publications against the war, Russian army and Russian president.
Differently to my highly respected Ukrainian colleagues, who will come back to their universities and research centres after the war, I have nowhere to return, my future career in Russian is impossible. In March, 2022, I have been appointed to be a non-residential fellow of the Centre for Media, Data and Society at the Democracy Institute of Central European University, Budapest, Hungary and in February 2023 the Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, accepted me as an Associate Member. During this year I had also short fellowships in Germany, USA, Israel and Lithuania. Finally, Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia, offered me a full-time long-term position from February 2023.
I published over 100 papers, chapters and books in Russian and English, founded and edited "Media and Religion" book series, published by Moscow State University from 2011 till 2016.
Selected recent publications:
Khroul V. (2023). Myths on Religions in Russian Media: a Functional Perspective, in: Studia Humanitatis, № 1, URL: https://st-hum.ru/sites/st-hum.ru/files/pdf/khroul_1.pdf
Khroul V. (2022). “Post-truth” as an Ontological Error in a Global Media and Academic Discourse, in: Studia Humanitatis, № 2, URL: https://st-hum.ru/en/node/1121
Khroul V. (2021). Digitalization of Religion in Russia: Adjusting Preaching to New Formats, Channels and Platforms, in: The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russia Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Ch. 11. P. 187-204.
I have just started a new research project "Russian world" as a civil religion in media discourse: from a cultural concept to a militant faith, which seems to be heuristically promising for understanding recent events in Russia and Ukraine.
In December 2022, the Royal Academy of Sciences of Belgium awarded me in Brussels with a honorary prize for the “Sciences, Arts and Peace”.
I do hope that the new stability in my academic life helps me to open again opportunities for professional growth and enriching academic experience within IAMCR Religion and Communication Working Group. While serving as a co-chair of this group from 2012 till 2016 I participated in all phases of IAMCR activities, drafted CFPs, reviewed abstracts, organized sessions. Therefore I consider my experience to be relevant to apply for the Religion and Communication Working Group Vice-chair position.
Joseph Muyangata (Light of the World Bible School / Full Gospel Tabernacle International, United States)
My name is Joseph Muyangata, I am currently a Lecturer of Theology at the Light of the World Bible School and the Christian Education Director for Full Gospel Tabernacle International in the Bronx, USA. I have a key interest in Religion, Media, Communication, Etiquette, Religious communities, Pandemics, and Religious public relations.
I joined IAMCR in 2008 and have been a standing member of the Religion and Communion Working Group since then. I am presently a member in good standing with IAMCR. I have attended conferences physically and online (during the pandemic) and recently had a book chapter published in the “Handbook of Religion and Communication” spearheaded by the outgoing Chairperson of the Religion and Communication Group, Prof. Yoel Cohen.
My time as a member of IAMCR has taught me a lot and hence my interest to step in and serve as a Religion and Communication Section/working group chair/vice-chair. I would like to return to others the same generosity and kindness that was offered to me over the years. I envision myself helping section and association-wide decision-making processes, as I relate and communicate with members as well as fostering networking opportunities for the working group. I also desire to be overseeing the conference programming for our working group, reviewing abstracts, organizing both online and on-site sessions something that I have learnt and harnessed throughout my time as a peer-reviewer, contributor to academic books and journals, and participant, volunteer and in conferences.
I know that this is a challenging and tasking position, but I am willing to wholly dedicate myself and put my time to the task for the good cause of our working group and the association at large. I promise to remain faithfully guided by the IAMCR’s mission once I am elected chair/vice- chair of the Religion and Communication working group.
Krishna Sankar Kusuma (AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India)
I am a member in this group from 2016. I have also assisted the section by reviewing abstracts. Over the years the group successfully has advanced with more members and diverse representation. I have been working on representation, religion, and caste issues. Media and religion have been a centre point in the modern-day conflicts. I strongly believe that the intersection of media and religion plays a crucial role in contemporary conflicts. As we move forward, I am committed to incorporating diverse perspectives into our upcoming conferences. I will ensure that each member actively engages with their respective institutions and regions to organize academic activities that foster meaningful debates in the field of media and religions. Publication is an integral part of our academic endeavors, and I will work diligently to have our section members' papers published in dedicated journals and edited books. Furthermore, our section's discussion group will remain active to facilitate connections for funding minor and major research projects in this area. I would like to express my gratitude to the previous section chairman and co-chairs for their efforts in making this section successful. I am confident that I can contribute to the section with increased activity and an expanded academic network.
Now, let me introduce you to my own work and background. I have over two decades of experience in academia, specializing in various subjects such as Mobile Storytelling, New Media Storytelling, Mobile AR, VR, i-doc, Video Production, South Indian Cinema, Street Theater, and Traditional Media. I am actively involved in producing e-content and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), as well as providing training for teachers on designing e-content across India. Previously, I held positions at CEDEC in Orissa, Tezpur University in Assam, and the College of Applied Sciences in the Sultanate of Oman. Currently, I am a Fellow conducting research on Mobile Studies at Nottingham University.