By Esha Vaish:
The media is often found to be rampant with misrepresentation and skewed representation. While a Bollywood tadka-song features in primetime news, important issues of human rights violation find no voice in the slots and quirky blurbs on news channels. The brutality doesn’t end there. In the race to grab eyeballs, the truth is often found to be a casualty, the statements of tribal groups changed, a mask of half-truth adorned by the translators and news producers.
Thus, it seems only fit that retaliation seems to be brewing under the surface. Taking the form of a parallel movement, a new form of reportage has begun to emerge throughout the country. Today, Community Video Units are presenting rural areas with a voice, returning media ownership to the people.
A non-profit organisation doing phenomenal work in the field, Video Volunteers has made media an empowering tool. Rural media development has largely been hindered by deprivation of training including journalistic skills and technology to create and store news. High end media production tools are extremely expensive and require infrastructural support such as electricity. The funds and resources, both are found lacking in rural areas.
Video Volunteers addresses these basic problems. The proliferation of easy to use and comparatively inexpensive handy-cams has been teamed with basic journalistic and recording training in inaccessible and backward areas. Through this the organisation has created a network or journalists and media people. Working with the communities and explaining the need to disseminate and propagate news, they are able to involve the villagers and impress upon them the importance of such an association.
Local news producers have better rapport with the community and are now able to bring to light stories of conflict for people to contemplate about, conflict resolution for other communities to implement and reporter profiles, to inspire others to take initiates as well.
The videos thus created and sent by the Community Video Unit representatives are sub-titled and uploaded on their site to bring to people unaltered news and shed light on important issues that need to be addressed. Such a movement triggers tangent action, driving a point and a final outcome home by collecting opinion polls, creating a reaction through editorials etc.
This mechanism has not only made the urban dwellers aware of existent problems but also given the rural population a platform for expression and questioning.Â Spearheading a wave of change seems within the reach of such Community Video Units. As the movement gains prominence, and as communities join in and participate, the blind-spot in reportage created by conventional media might be eradicated after all.