UiTM FCMS reimagines Communication and Media in the face of the digital age

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Line ups of Keynote speakers at iCOMS2021

The Faculty of Communication and Media Studies (FCMS), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), recently hosted their second International Conference on Media and Social Sciences (iCOMS2021), bearing the theme of ‘Reimagining Communication and Media in the Face of the Digital Age’.

This three-day conference was held virtually, connecting academicians, policymakers, industry players, and media and communication practitioners from all corners of the globe.

Amidst the global pandemic, the faculty believes that making connections is essential to ensure that research literacy, envisioned sustainability, pedagogical engagement, and findings visibility takes centre stage for participants to assimilate and practice. The conference drew ten (10) international participants, namely from Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines.

The conference was anchored by strong strategic partners and collaborators, including Al Jazeera Media Network, the Malaysian Press Institute, Polytechnic University of Philippines, Universitas Andalas, University of Zululand and UiTM’s Centre of Strategic Communication and Analytical Laboratory (COSCAL), which contributed to its success.

FCMS believes the coming together of academics and the industry would lessen the gap caused by the pandemic that has significantly hindered potential growth in student’s empowerment, employability, and career mobility. As such, this digital conference was built in this very foundation for all to review potential solutions and remain united in delivering progress needed for collective growth.

The conference hosted seven of the sector’s esteemed speakers and offered 14 parallel sessions featuring policymakers, media executives and respected academicians of the field. Among those who present were Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya, Chairman of Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), Dr Yaser Bishr, Executive Director of Digital Al Jazeera Media Network (Qatar), John D. Chacko, Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies (UiTM) who is also President of New York-based International Advertising Association (IAA) Malaysian chapter, and Prof. Mohan J. Dutta, Director of the Centre for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at Massey University, New Zealand.

The conference was officiated by Professor Ts Dr Hajah Roziah Mohd Janor, the recently appointed Vice-Chancellor of UiTM.

“Digitally, we are open to more opportunities to reflect and improve the different approaches in communication and media. With technology altering societies to become resilient and sustainable, such extraordinary potential should be channelled into improving education, social and economic development that will infuse robustness into our livelihood.  Therefore, the theme for iCOMS2021, ‘Reimagining Communication and Media in the Face of the Digital Age’, is relevant to what we are facing today,” noted Professor Ts. Dr Hajah Roziah Mohd Janor.

The Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, who is also iCOMS2021’s General Chair, Associate Professor Dr Massila Hamzah, also added that “a range of rethinking and restructuring needs to be taken into consideration following the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted “business from the usual”, moving forward into approaches and point of views that picks up the pace from global rebound”.

Indeed, the conference was a much-needed avenue for participants as they shared their notable moments in research and best practices. Every presenter was an epitome of success in their own right; a soldier of sonnets, a warrior of words and pugilist of prose as they presented their findings, managing a laugh or two in between takes. The pandemic may have ravaged the world as we know it, but iCOMS2021 managed to bring out the best in everyone, advocating working on our similarities and shedding away our differences to make the world a better place for us to live in.