By Mayank Jain:
The story: Connections rule the world and awareness is the first step of actualization of the goals we have set for ourselves. The web of internet and mobile communications though, is still limited in the country and it is not empowering people in the deep interiors where tribes and civilizations are still living in dark ages. CGNet Swara wishes to change it and it has been quite successful in its attempts to mobilize people at the grassroots and give them a voice.
Mr. Shubhranshu Choudhary is the man who founded the organization which put him on the world map for his efforts of converting tribesman in the rural belt of Chhattisgarh into citizen journalists. He has just received a coveted award for digital activism zooming past the likes of Edward Snowden for his efforts in change making in one of the most severely conflicted areas of the country. Index on Censorship, a London-based organization gives these awards every year to “recognize the bravest journalists, artists, campaigners and digital innovators from around the world”.
CGNet Swara is a news service accessible on mobile phones where tribal people can know the news related to them or their surrounding regions which don’t get reported in mainstream media. The news service can be accessed online or on mobile phones by simply dialing a number and one can hear the messages from the citizen journalists or voice their own opinions and concerns which receive a lot of amplification due to the deep penetration of service in the regions.
Shubhranshu has been doing it for a long time now and in his acceptance speech he highlighted the need to democratize journalism very well. A lot has already been said about giving people voices but the mainstream media has hardly took notice of such issues and thus the void has to be plugged in by proactive people like him who empower people with technology and platforms that ensure efficient change making rather than redundant blame game.
“We need to democratize journalism, to allow for a journalism of concern, so that ordinary people can tell their own stories and enrich democracy further. If we want a better future, we cannot afford to leave communication in the hands of a few people”, he said in his acceptance speech among many noted journalists, media experts and human rights lawyers who were there to witness the grand occasion. Here is his acceptance speech:
The opinion: Increasing population, increases the responsibility of providing for them and it includes giving them the right to express themselves. The government seems to be doing little on the front with countable initiatives ever taken to give people a pedestal to stand on and speak to their own and capitalist mainstream media continues to grab advertisements. The projects taken up by people like Shubranshu are hence, highly commendable and deserve to be appreciated a lot more than they are. A little support from the government and a high priority notice by the mainstream media to help such organizations; might just prove to be the bridge between our present and future that we were all looking for.