Mr Kumar Suresh, Director-General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), says IIMC will be the first institution in the world to get a media laboratory when inaugurated.

Suresh disclosed this at the 70th batch of the Development Journalism Course in New Delhi.

He said that the institute would partner with the Facebook India team to establish the media lab which would soon be inaugurated.

“We have been in touch with the Facebook India team and the Global Head, New Partnership Facebook, Ms Campbell Brown who recently visited IIMC.

“When I told Campbell that the media lab will be first in India, she said,`it will be the first in the world’ no education institution has that kind of facility.

“Facebook has gotten their own studios in different parts of the world but the same kind of studio will be established in IIMC to train our students.

“It will be great a facility that India will be proud of. That is a dream project for me; positively, it will be done this year, I am working on it,” he said.

Similarly, he said that the premier institution would soon be upgraded to the status of National University of Mass Communication.

“We have approached the University Grants Commission and it has recommended that we should run degree courses and as soon as we get approval, we will start.

“I am hoping that it will be achieved before I leave office in 2019,’’ he said.

According to the director-general, IIMC is one of the most prestigious institutions in the field of Mass Communication, not just in Indian but globally.

“We are the oldest research and training faculty in Asia; it is an institution which is recognised globally and I am happy that it is in India.

“My dream is to make it the best in Asia and best in the world.”

Suresh said that Diploma Course in Development Journalism (DJ) run by IIMC had helped to shape the understanding of development/ journalism, Indian society, culture and politics.

He said that the DJ scholars played a very important part in that, saying “ It is a very important course for us in India.

“We hope that we will be able to consolidate on our relationship with developing countries through this effort.

“We all have a common course of bringing prosperity for our people to give them quality life to bring about sustainable development goals.

“I am sure you (DJ scholars) will be able to prepare media educators for that purpose because the objective of IIMC is to prepare global journalists with firm understanding of India perspective.”

The director-general expressed optimism that the DJ scholars would be able to interact with government and private organisations on development issues when they get back to their various countries.

“I think diplomacy is part of any country’s foreign policy; it is an honour when I go to countries like Afghanistan that has benefited from DJ course.

“The moment they get to know I am from India, the immigration authority will be friendly and they take care of me because of their love and affection for India.

“So, these students go back and they carry a lot of love and respect for India so that what has been happening; it is what we called `track two diplomacy’.

“The track one is official level while track two strengthens people-to-people relationship. Even if the official relations get sour between two countries but people-to-people relationship makes them strong.

“I am happy that IIMC is contributing to that track two diplomacy,” he said.

IIMC is an Indian media centre of learning funded and promoted by the Government of India in New Delhi.

The IIMC is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.