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Here Are 10 Things News Channels Can Report On, Instead of Peddling Fake News

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I don’t watch the news, I have to admit, a little shamefully though. I’m not updated with what’s happening in the country or world on a day-to-day basis. I stopped keeping track of the COVID-19 numbers too, after April-May. It’s difficult for me to participate in small talk with people in their late 40-50s because they really like to talk about current events, or rather, the gossip fed to us by news-houses. Sadly, I’ve started noticing the same happening with my peers also — being exceedingly up-to-date on such news, rather than discussing some amazing ideas, philosophies or some interesting realisations, perhaps about the so-called news we watch.

We are just busy repeating and re-broadcasting information fed to us on a daily basis. I even downloaded and then quickly uninstalled the groundbreaking app Inshorts that got super famous super fast. I’ve never known it to give any important news, but only random gossip.

I recently happened to watch a YouTube video with my chai and snacks about some current events, and it made me think about some of the topics that Indian news houses and channels can cover, instead of the random trash they show us on repeat as ‘breaking news’. It might also help some of the youth stay up-to-date with what is important, rather than on what is interesting. Sadly, people now have to spend from hundreds to thousands and lakhs of rupees preparing for general knowledge for their exams because newspapers and news channels are not really showing what amounts to important news or information.

Reading Newspaper
Image credit: Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

So here are 10 things that news channels should show, instead of repeating random gossip 24×7:

  1. Government Initiatives: I know certain communities hate the word ‘government’, but a lot of educated people in the system work really hard to make a few things work. Let’s show these things a bit? Show positive initiatives taken by the government along with numbers on their efficiency. Use infographics and make the information appealing. Don’t pass judgments, show facts. We all have good years and bad years, let the government too? Don’t pass judgments on how the government is stealing all our money and not being able to deliver  —  this will only encourage the government to buy your channel or rig the numbers so that we never get proper news again.
  2. National Awards: We only know the national awards Kangana Ranaut or Rajkumar Rao have collected. We don’t know the categories in which National Awards are given, when they’re given and to whom. Show us a telecast of the National Awards Ceremony. We get a telecast and good three-page coverage of Oscars, but we get no news on National Awards. Why?
  3. International Acclaim: Every now and then, I see an Indian representative in another country making a name for themselves. Sadly, our news never mentions these guys or reports on them and their achievements. These representatives not just include Sundar Pichai or Indra Nooyi, but also Indian representatives in the Canadian Cabinet, the US Military and NASA, being honoured for their exceptional service. Let’s talk about them too.
  4. National Impact: Having a page such as ‘Humans of Bombay’ is excellent, so we must take inspiration and have a page or column called ‘Humans of India’. Talk about people who are stepping out of their comfort zones to make an impact. We all know about Nita Ambani’s social initiatives, talk about people who’re actually stepping out to work on the field, in their individual capacities.
  5. Health Services: Why do we have no news on health services, and how and where to avail them? Why do we not know the infographics on the state of health in our country? Why do we only know about suicides when an actor allegedly dies by it?
  6. Tourism in India: Zoya Akhtar recently got some kind of an award for promoting tourism through her movies. Why can’t we do some daily or weekly coverage on tourist spots in India, how the sector helps the country economically, what jobs it opens up, how it contributes to the GDP etc.
  7. Research and Development: Do we know of any research India is engaged in? Do we know the number of patents India secured in the year 2019? So many organisations are involved in research in various streams, why don’t we show that for a change?
  8. Celebrities: Why don’t we make celebrities out of scientists, academicians, soldiers, farmers, athletes etc? Why are our celebrities restricted to Bollywood actors, infamous politicians, or cricketers? Why don’t we report on exemplary people from diverse backgrounds and give a voice to their stories?
  9. Indian Speakers: Arundhati Katju, Menaka Guruswamy, Shashi Tharoor  —  all of them have spoken at Oxford, but we could only watch it on YouTube. Why don’t our news channels cover these every once in a while? Why don’t our news channels telecast TED talks every once in a while? Why don’t our news houses cover highlights from these every once in a while?
  10. Child Audience: Something relevant for children should also be broadcast by news organisations, some light news shows that kids can tune into. It’ll be good to develop a habit of watching relevant news.
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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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