Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Isn’t there a better choice than this dull, impersonal and repetitive music…?
Isn’t there a more personal approach than this stupid-looking nobody, whom you called bhakta John…?
Come on, we know ISKCON Communications can (should) do better than that…!
I will start to check news.iskcon.org regularly and submit annoucements and news articles to the website. It looks very nicely designed and maintained. Kudos to the devotees at iskcon.news.org.
To be fair, the Iskcon.org team, at: http://news.iskcon.org/page/about-us,1/ is not representative of all Iskcon devotees worldwide. All in the team are Western devotees, five live in America, two in Australia and one in the UK.
There are articles about health; humanitarian issues etc, things that could easily be found elsewhere on the web. On their team profile page, they say
“our mission is to be a reliable, balanced, and timely source of news about, and of interest to the devotees, friends and people interested in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Judging by some of their articles, these friends could be people from humanist, vegan or other such organisations. Who makes the decisions who these friends are and what news should be displayed for their benefit?
They further state that:
“It is our conviction that such a resource will help to create a more well-informed and connected citizenry within ISKCON, and thus positively impact ISKCON’s ability to carry out its mission.”
Devotees have different opinions. There are so many issues in ISKCON, some supporting one side or the other. How can it be the conviction of the Iskcon.org team that their approach will create a well informed and connected citizenry within ISKCON when the majority of ISKCON devotees, such as in Africa, Russia, India and more traditional conservative countries are not represented on this team.
Dear Nitai Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for visiting the website of ISKCON News and sharing your thoughts.
The ISKCON Ministry of Communications works to create and sustain favorable environments for advancing the goals of the Krishna consciousness movement by establishing and maintaining confidence and faith in the integrity of the movement’s members and its mission. As such we are committed to helping ISKCON be a respected and influential religious organization all over the world.
In essence, ISKCON Communications builds bridges between ISKCON as an organization (and sometimes the Vaishnava faith as a tradition) and key audiences. These audiences include the media, academia, government officials and NGOs, interfaith groups, the broader Hindu community, and – perhaps most importantly – our internal audience of Hare Krishna devotees, practitioners and congregational supporters.
We believe that in order to fulfill our mission – to help ISKCON be a respected and influential religious organization all over the world – we must adhere to the following principles and values. These principles represent the spiritual foundation upon which we base our communication.
1. Consistency with Srila Prabhupada’s teaching and example
2. Appropriate consideration of time, place, and circumstance
4. Building interdependent relationships
5. Maintaining exemplary character and behavior
For the benefit of the Vaishnava community, we would like to humbly bring it to their attention that ISKCON News serves as a subset of the Ministry of Communications which comprises of:
· International Minister
· Regional Directors
· Local Communications representative of the individual temples.
· ISKCON News Staff
· Global advisory team of devotees with experience in communications
The ‘About us’ page that you kindly quoted shows the list of devotees who serve full time in maintaining and developing ISKCON News which is done in complete synergy with whole ISKCON Communications team. It may be relevant to briefly share the functioning of ISKCON news which basically works around the clock non-stop.
Before we go there, the devotees may be interested more about the ISKCON Communication Directors. I’m sure you must have seen on the homepage of ISKCON News, the recent story about the launch of ISKCON Communications website wherein you find the contact information of the Communication Directors which I would like share here for the information of the readers:
Minister and Global Director for Communications – Anuttama Dasa
Australia – Bhakta Dasa
Russia – Radha Damodar Dasa, Bhaktin Olessia
India – Vrajendranandan Dasa (National Director), Yudhistir Govinda Dasa (National Coordinator and North Indian Director), Parijata Dasi (West India), Ananga Mohan Dasa (East India)
Kenya – Dwarka Vasini Dasi
South Africa – Nanda Kumara Dasa
West Africa – Srivas Dasa (Acting)
Europe – Mahaprabhu Dasa
Italy – Parabhakti Dasa
Argentina – Baladeva Dasa
Bolivia – Govinda Nandini Dasi
North America – Keshava Sharma
Whenever a event, festival or issue is to be reported, the local Communications representative gets in touch with the Regional Director and the ISKCON News staff writer and sends them the story. The staff writer then interviews the devotees involved in the story and along with local/regional Communications devotees. The story is then sent to the ISKCON News Editor and finally posted online. And as I’m sure you must have noticed the global flavor of news found on the website ranging from Philippines to South Africa to Europe about ISKCON.
As all of us would agree, there is so much potential for preaching Krishna Consciousness and so much is happening in ISKCON that can be covered but it’s only possible by the help and blessings of kind devotees such as your grace. We invite, as always, all the devotees to send their local news with the Communications Representative/Director of their region and ISKCON News to share it with the greater Vaishnava community. Any help that you are inspired to offer is welcomed, be it sending your local news stories or financially supporting the service or (most importantly!) keeping us in your prayers and sending us your blessings.
Thank you and once again please visit ISKCON News at http://news.iskcon.org
Yudhistir Govinda Das
“How can it be the conviction of the Iskcon.org team that their approach will create a well informed and connected citizenry within ISKCON when the majority of ISKCON devotees, such as in Africa, Russia, India and more traditional conservative countries are not represented on this team” ?
Why not directly ask the devotees on the team? Or volunteer to add some content more appealing to African and Indian and Russian devotees (or Chinese or South American devotees)?
You may not share their convictions, but these devotees are entitled to their convictions. They are working out of a sincere desire to render some service, and that should be respected. They are producing a nice website, and I am sure we can all find things we like about it.
I am not aware that they excluded any volunteers from other countries. Nor have they expressed any conviction that a news and information website organized and maintained by devotees from other countries would be less reliable, balanced or useful in keeping ISKCON’s “citizenry” informed and connected.
Yes, some articles on their site could be found elsewhere on the web, but there are things on the site which are of more direct interest to ISKCON members that will not be found elsewhere. And if there is something unappealing to some devotees about their editorial policy, no one is forcing us to subscribe. We might write a private email to them to sound off. Public criticism is harsh.
I think I have noticed a phenomenon in the blogosphere where people seem more interested in writing about what they do not like or do not agree with than what they do. It may be similar to the phenomenon in democratic politics that negative advertising (to drive up negative feelings about an opponent) is often more effective than positive advertising about the candidate paying for the ads.
We want to say something original and unique to show how smart and discerning we are, and the easiest way to do that is point out the flaws we perceive in others’ efforts and ideas. I get it. It is natural. It makes sense.
Still, I feel like we should be more encouraging to devotees who are investing time and energy and attention into doing some devotional service for the benefit devotees who view their website. “Grandma’s” rule of thumb was, if we cannot think of something nice to say, better to keep quiet.
Many years ago, Mukunda Maharaja approached me to write something for it, and he explained that it was an outreach effort to engage devotees who, you might say, are regular Sunday Feast crowd. They come to the temple, they identify with ISKCON, but anything else goes. I don’t usually write for that audience, but I did write something that I thought (hoped) would be non-confrontational enough for that audience. I sent it on to the editors, and I never heard back from them. Oh well.
That said, I agree that some of the content is something on the level of the “None for the Nuns” article in the pre-reformed Back To Godhead at the start of the 1990s. For those who never encountered it, it was an editorial that spoke out in defense of Catholic Nuns not getting some pension benefit. I can’t remember which institution was the guilty party (Vatican, US Government?) Someone had also drawn a cute line-art picture to go along with it. The editorial gained quick notoriety. Almost any devotee who saw it wondered why it was in BTG at all, and why they were reading it. So, yes, ISKCON News sometimes publishes things like that.
What is also notable is the effort in terms of manpower and funds that go into the project. Couldn’t they do something considerably more edgy, more straight-forward with the same resources? I am 100% positive you would get much more of a return on that investment, something quite a bit more satisfying.