This Journalist Turned CEO Has A Message For Aspiring Media Professionals

TNBC Live is a news website that covers news pieces internationally. It was developed by News Broadcasting Corporation PLC started a publication and it has several features that make it stand out among the crowd.

I was lucky enough to get an interview with the CEO of this media house, Aninda Bhowmik, and I think aspiring journalists can a learn a lot from his advice; especially considering how the media today is notorious for being radical, biased and irresponsible.

Niha Khan (NK): What was your inspiration behind TNBC?

Aninda Bhowmik (AB): TNBC has been a very big dream for me ever since I become a journalist. When I was studying journalism for my degree, I came across many things that deeply saddened me. The noble profession of journalism was tarnished by the greed of money and fame. I saw different news agencies, who wrote news pieces that had no relation to reality, and were very misleading. I could see how a single article could cause a riot in the masses. Being a meek student at that time, I could only wish for someone to completely change the dynamics of media.

NK: What difficulties did you face in your journey to TNBC?

(AB): As soon as I started working on my dream, I was pushed against the wall by all my fellow journalists. They told me how there was no right and wrong journalism. Every news is news. You cannot stop the publication of false news stories. If you won’t publish them someone else will and you lose your business. This was very depressing for me as it was just the beginning. I also faced a lot of trouble in hiring a team that matched my morals and wanted to introduce India to the right form of journalism. But I didn’t let these factors diminish my dream.

NK: What made you continue your journey, despite facing the backlash?

(AB): The irresponsible acts of journalism kept boiling my blood. I could not stand the corrupt journalists affecting the opinions of their readers. I had to do something about so I kept working hard to bring TNBC where it is now.

NK: Who gave you the idea for TNBC live?

(AB): I was always amazed by the social media concept of two-way communication. I wanted to bring it to news broadcasts so that the audiences could interact and respond to the news provided. This engages the audience and creates awareness. I am very glad that the audience takes an active part in healthy discussions.

NK: What are your future plans for TNBC?

(AB): Well, I have been planning to make TNBC a global news platform to improve the image of journalists everywhere. I have many other things up my sleeve that you will find out soon.

NK: What would you advise the journalists in India?

(AB): To begin with, I would say, tell the news the way it is. Indian media is known all over the world for being misleading. They mould the story to put their agendas across. Journalism is a respectable field; kindly do not take out the respect element from it. If your news pieces are challenged for being provocative or riot-inducing, then the credibility of journalists will be lost all over the globe. Thus, to be a journalist, one must be very responsible and think about the public interest more than the ratings.

NK: What is the best part of being an owner of a news website?

(AB): It is very satisfying to know that at least someone in the media is telling the complete news without alterations. I work very hard in making sure the integrity is maintained and we do not stoop to cheap tactics to increase our readership. There is more to news broadcasting than making money.

NK: What do you concur will happen in the next ten years with regard to Indian news reporting?

(AB): Many students are now studying to be journalists and in their courses, they are also taught about the role of conduct a news reporter should adapt. I have high hopes for the Indian media, ten years from now. The youth is getting more and more interested in the politics of the country and are making informed decisions. They are hard to fool and very educated; this will hopefully improve our media and quality journalism will be depicted.

NK: Have you ever decided on starting a news channel?

(AB): For now, I just want to focus on the news website and bring new things to the table. The channel is not of my slightest concern. I want to perfect the website and increase my readership so that the world can see responsible news reporting. I will think about the channel after 3-4 years when my website is stable and I can pay attention to other things.

NK: What qualities do you look for in a team? What makes you hire people?

(AB): I hire people based on their originality; the most important thing for me is to have a distinct personality.  In the field of journalism, you need to have a personal outlook so that you do not follow the herd and ask the same questions. When you have a unique personality, you ask unique questions that are creative and can shed some new light on the matter at hand.

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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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