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Social Media And Its Implication For India’s Traditional News Formats

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In today’s era, social media has become a great source of income generation and an incredible platform to interact with a wider audience. In earlier generations, there was limited access to the internet; and years after the internet revolution, the lifestyle of many of its users has significantly changed.

Nowadays, people are going nuts online perceiving that without the use of social network channels like Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp, their talent would hardly be recognized by the prominent personality from entertainment, sports, and arts industry. Also, these days the trending fashion of passing defamatory comments on modesty, class, religion, and credibility has widely spread and with these notions, many individuals tend to leap into these magical wireless connectivity to the entire world.

The gathering of information, reporting, and publishing on social events with the extensive use of mass media and the printing press has evolved much better and attracted many viewers or readers by its elaborative style of appearance. Over the years of transformation, editors, reporters, and writers have penned down the social, economic and political events by keeping in mind the interest of likes and dislikes of humans. Some wrote to frame the ideas of expression in the beautifully painted canvas of truth, justice, and humanity; whereas some have diverted their pathway towards gaining the power of fame and money.

It has also been noted that how effective anyone’s voice can have an impact on social media websites, which would propagate to run the effective functioning of organization by maintaining the uniformity of any individual or parallelly heading towards something regarded as an unconventional path to destroy the ethical values of the constitution by echoing prejudiced remarks or statements made publicly to lower the status of the authority.

This particular independent space of which we are going to address today, to begin with, two haunting questions we should be asking ourselves: if freedom of speech is given to us, are we utilising it in an appropriate way and, if not, then why? Secondly, is the excessive use of social networking sites destroying the scope of the fourth pillar of democracy, i.e. media?

Media plays a very important role in unearthing the facts and presenting it to the world in the most reasonable, modest, and informative approach. People trust news channels believing that if their own elected government, administrative system, and society do not work sincerely supporting the whole nation to prosper in every aspect of development, then there must be a socially engaged representative who will be their choice of directing the prolonged issues right on the table of the authoritarian.

However, the memorandum of deliberative speech, articulating the dialogue between parties and owning the extraordinary advocacy power of challenging the dictatorship on behalf of public interest in the rule books of media and journalism seems to be disappearing with time. Only a fraction of the highly intellectual, top-ranked news channels and honoured media anchors are actively working to revive the mainstream media while the rest have downgraded the virtue of authentic news media by displaying unimportant, baseless, and fabricated stories. This is done to take a share of the highest grossing television rating point (TRP) earnings from the pockets of politicians and corporate houses.

It is watched many times on TV, whenever there is a mass protest or hunger strikes by farmers, youth, employees, and women in New Delhi and/or other parts of India. The tireless and mobilised activities of protesters battling day and night for their legal rights going unnoticed and suddenly, all their efforts to bring change within the system cease due to the repulsive demand of the central government and other media outlets to stop immediately.

And, the reporting of celebrity parties or in some cases the local MLA’s son’s late night partying suddenly met with an accident gets 100% coverage.  This is why the majority of teenagers and elders are catering to the popularity of social media sites which gives the abundance of freedom to speak about anything by posting online of their pleas.

There has been an unprecedented recording of incidents that took place across the city which had caused a threat to the national-level security, which has propelled the regime to impose stringent actions against violators. In recent times, police officials have charged the dissenters for mocking newly appointed politicians, criticising their established institutions, and breaching the law regulatory which has resulted in the detaining of nearly 42 persons who were sent behind bars for posting “objectionable posts” from 2014 till 2017 stated by NDTV managing editor, author, and recipient of prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for journalism, Ravish Kumar.

Here, the point to be noted is that that the two different passages of life are assertive and offensive actions. It all depends on the psychological tendency of one’s mindset to decide. Assertive actions are progressed with the purpose of addressing concerns pertaining to society and the fundamental practice of one’s character duties. Contrary to assertive actions, offensive actions had defamed the characteristics of governmental bodies and frequently interrupted the confrontation talks or negotiations between the two nations on peace and humanity.

Therefore, in the end, it can be concluded that in any rampant situations the usage of social networking tools would deteriorate the functionality of the governing body and impact many. At any cost, the prime responsibility of the citizens should be to stay on ground when things go out of control and with regard to their exaggerating apprehensions, the government must validate the great initiative plans to launch the special cell which would look overall into these sensitive matters.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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