News media and film
The objective of the Council's news media and film program is to increase public awareness and understanding of Australia in India, and of India in Australia, through the print media, radio, television and film.
During 2000–01, the Council provided funding to Cinemedia Victoria to enable a visit to India by Ms Amree Hewitt to discuss planning arrangements for the festival of Indian films in Australia planned for the latter half of 2002. This festival will comprise the second half of a bilateral exchange of film festivals managed by Cinemedia Victoria and curated by the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), following the Journey Festival of Australian Films in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Calcutta during January and February 2000.
As a follow-on from previous Council-supported projects to provide curriculum advice to the Film and Television Institute of India, the Institute's Director, Dr Mohan Agashe, visited Sydney and Melbourne during November 2000 to give lectures on aspects of Indian visual and performing arts, and for discussions with the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and other institutions.
Placements under the Medialink news media exchange program, conducted by the Asialink Centre, continued during 2000–01. The Medialink program involves exchanges in each direction between a wide range of news media personnel from Australia and India. The aim of the program is to strengthen country-to-country relations by promoting dialogue and cooperation in the region, directly and through enhanced public understanding.
Medialink placements included ABC producer Ms Nicola Harrison, who worked with the Times of India in New Delhi and Mumbai from September to December 2000; TV current affairs and documentary film-maker Mr Tim Bryson, who worked at TV 18 in New Delhi from September 2000 to January 2001; and Mr Rajesh Kumar of the Indian Express who worked at the Australian Financial Review's Melbourne office from October to December 2000. All Medialink participants reported that the experience had greatly enhanced their understanding of the respective host country, and also their professional abilities.
Other elements of the news media program included the Council's annual report and the Australia–India Focus newsletter. The newsletter provides information on recent and forthcoming events within the bilateral relationship. It is jointly funded by the AIC, the Australia India Business Council and Austrade and distributed in both Australia and India.