Breaking news at the grassroots

In what can be termed as a major community video revolution,community news-makers are teaming up with various organisations to produce video news-magazines and screen them in the rural areas.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:January 4, 2009 1:11 am

Community video revolution all set to take rural areas by storm

In what can be termed as a major community video revolution,community news-makers are teaming up with various organisations to produce video news-magazines and screen them in the rural areas.

To enhance the catchment area,these videos are streamed online on http://ch19.org. It is called Channel 19 after Article 19 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights on guaranteeing free speech.

Channel 19 is an independent online network created by Video Volunteers,a US-based NGO,with the help of its Ahmedabad-based partner Drishti Media Arts. In 2006,they partnered with six leading Indian NGOs that invested in community video units in their respective areas.

These NGOs are the Mumbai-based Akshara and Yuva,the Andhra Pradesh-based Laya,and the Gujarat-based Navsarjan,Saath and Yuvshakti.

This network distributes,promotes and supports community produced media in India. These videos are based on social,economic and local issues the communities want to address.

These videos are combined into a newsmagazine every six weeks,comprising campaign segment,case study,tips segment,inspirational story and suggested corrective actions. It is screened in over 50 locations in villages lying nearby. A discussion and debate is also held on the issues shown in the newsmagazine after the screening.

According to Drishti Media,of the total community video producers,25 per cent are Muslims,25 per cent Dalit,25 per cent Tribal and the rest are women.

In the last 16 months,it claims to have trained 64 producers working in 150 villages and slums,made over 40 films,and had over 600 screenings seen by 120,000 people.

Rajendra Joshi of Saath said: “The impact of community video has been substantial to say the least. The news magazines relating to malpractices in the Public Distribution System,and water and sanitation problems in the slums have been shown to the governmental authorities for appropriate action.”

Joshi also said about the achievements under the youth employability program ‘Umeed’ of the Gujarat government,where the issues of livelihood and employment were successfully brought into the limelight.

Community media in the state at a glance

Aaykar— the community radio in the tribal areas of Dangs district along with the Right to Information Act has been able to expose corruption in areas as diverse as land certificates,registration of births and deaths,and even in the NREGS

Lok Darshan— an experiment in socially-relevant media where kids from one of the Gujarat’s largest slums,Ramapir-no-tekro,produced a 30-minute video programme dealing with various slum problems.

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