The Media South Asia project has relied from its inception on the knowledge and commitment of its research associates in the different South Asian countries. In the first phase - data collection and publication - the research agenda of the project involved the compilation of media profiles of the different south Asian countries and interviews with over four hundred key figures. Focus group discussions were held with six categories of people to gauge public reactions to satellite programmes in a number of key areas of cultural influence: language, dress, music, sport, cultural practices, patterns of consumption, social relations and the impact on women and children. Six district surveys were also carried out, three in India and one each in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, to measure reactions at different levels of society outside the metropolitan cities.
For the purposes of the research, India was divided into four regions,
which were researched from Delhi (Md. Firoz
and Saibal Das Gupta), Calcutta (Anuradha Mukherjee
and Subir Bhaumik), Chennai (Lata
Ramaseshan and Pritham Chakravarty) and
Mumbai ( Deepa Bhatia, Mayank
Bhatt and Nilu Damle). Because of India's size
and centrality, three of our Indian research associates took specific
briefs: the economics of the new media market (Mayank
Bhatt), the role of government (Saibal Das Gupta) and the cultural
influence of the satellite channels ( Deepa
Bhatia). Though they worked only on India, their expertise fed into
the work of other members of the group. Bangladesh (Afsan
Chowdhury), Nepal (Deepak Thapa ) ,
Pakistan (Tasneem Ahmar) and Sri Lanka
(Sharni Jayawardena ) were each researched
by one associate. Kunda Dixit, then Director
of Panos South Asia, and Nalaka Gunawardene of
TVE Asia Pacific acted as advisors to the project.
In phase two of the project, which has concentrated on promoting public debate about the future of the South Asian media, research associates have provided advice and attended some conferences and workshops. Some of their research work is available in the MSA Archive.