One of the first parallel sessions held at Manthan Awards was dedicated to discussing the best ICT practices in the field of News, Media and Community Broadcasting for Social Development. The session was chaired by Ms. Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary – Ministry of Information Broadcasting (Govt. of India). The juror expert present was Mr. Debdas Sen, Executive Director – Consulting, PwC India & Mr. Asif Syed, Editor – Current Newspaper, was the special commentator.
The first presenter was Ms. Barsha Chabaria from Salaam Namaste, IMS Noida. She shared that this is a community radio that runs a show called “second innings ko salaam”. This is a program dedicated to the people from the community who have crossed the age of 60 and are now craving from some sort of engagement or adventure in their life. The program started in order to give this segment of society a voice and to impart them with a new identity. She added that it is weekly program written, produced and even hosted by elderly citizens. A group of such people was being trained to handle the console, do editing etc. This program seeks to share the experience of elderly people over a variety of topics such as careers, cooking, education and many more. This show has now become a voice of the grand pas and grams mas of Noida and is certainly adding more meaning to their second innings. The show has 50+ RJs none of whom do this for any kind of payment. This is truly community service in true sense.
The next presenter was Ms. Arti Jaiman from Gurgaon ki Awaaz. The presenter shared that the aim of this community radio station has been to give voice to local villagers and migrant workers of Gurgaon and other peripheral areas, whose voice has been absent from mainstream media. Around 12-15 lakh people of Gurgaon and nearby areas form their target audience. They have been operating for past 3 years in Hindi and Haryanvi for over 22 hours a day. In order to promote the culture of the villagers and migrant workers, they don’t play Bollywood songs but only the songs that are recorded by local music troops. None of the troop has ever asked for any fee. The sense that more people can hear them is enough for these troops. There are 11 more radio stations in the NCR, still these people constantly listen to Gurgaon ki Awaaz. Various shows on education and promotion of local entrepreneurship are broadcasted which are getting more and more popular. The famous Gali-Gali Sim-Sim program has been incorporated for awareness and entertainment of children. The people of Gurgaon ki Awaaz are certainly working for a novel cause.
The next presenter was Mr. Rajendra Negi from Henvalvani Community Radio, India. The presenter shared that they started as movement to bring the voice of local communities of Uttarakhand into mainstream media in the year September 2001. One of the main issues in the region of Uttarakhand is the migration of educated youth. In order to stop this, Henvalvani act as an inspiration. They are an all youth run organization. It is only radio station in whole of India that is broadcasted in Garhwali. In the light of the fact that no Garhwali newspaper or television channel exists, this is very important for preserving Garhwali language. Henvalvani is community driven independent organization. Over 150 people have so far worked for Henvalvani. Apart from playing Garhwali songs and creating awareness about the Garhwal culture, they have also employed programs like street plays and community interview to arouse the interest of people in this initiative. They have also broadcasted their shows on World Space Radio till the year 2008. Ever since their operation on the FM band since earlier this year, they have received over 17000 messages and 5700 live calls. This is an inspiring initiative by a community to protect their native language and culture.
The next project was presented by Mr. Santosh Thomas from Community Radio Mattoli. He shared that Radio station Mattoli was the first community radio to be launched in the state of Kerala. The main target audience for the station is the agricultural community since their district Wayanad is primarily an agrarian state. The second most important target segment is that of tribals as almost 38% of the tribal population in Kerala is located in their state. Wayanad is the most backward of Kerala both in terms of education and economy. Wayanad Social Service Society started this radio station with an aim to create awareness about best agricultural practices amongst the farming community. They have special programs to cater to the needs of both farming society as well as that of tribal population. Also they have trained volunteers who go in the tribal areas and help people through vocational training programs. Radio Station Mattoli is the only electronic medium in Kerala which broadcasts in the tribal dialect and hence has become an important part of the lives of people of Wayanad.
The next representative was Mr. Srinimal Padmakumara was from our neighboring country Sri Lanka, Jayasri Radio. The presenter showed a video to demonstrate the working and impact of Jayasri Radio. As already mentioned it is a web radio station from Sri Lanka and targets the Sri Lankans living outside the country. The main countries comprising of Sri Lankan population are the Middle East and gulf countries. Jayasri Radio has given a platform to these Sri Lankans to stay in the touch with their heritage and engage in various cultural activities happening in country. The station broadcasts latest information regarding various political, social and religious happenings in the country to the abroad settlers. It was opened in the year 2009 and was very warmly received by thousands of people residing in abroad. Jayasri Radio has held the position of number 1 radio station, telecasted through the net for the past two years. With its option of putting your request through Skype and Facebook, Jayasri Radio has created a strong foothold among Sri Lankans listeners.
The next project to present was Ms. Lakshmi Rebecca from Chai with Lakshmi. She shared that they believe that everyday countless conversations take place over a cup of tea at the local tea stall, especially in India. Thus they came up with the chat show, Chai with Lakshmi. It seeks to share the experience from the life of common Indians who have lots of nice things, waiting to be shared. The chat show has talks based on as many as 8 genres, ranging from entrepreneurship and sports to spirituality and inspiration. The presenter then showed some videos of her chat show. One of these videos was about Robin Uthappa, the Indian cricketer while another one was about a 20 year old Taxi driver who drove the F1 car this year. The videos are primarily telecasted as webisodes which are 7-10 minutes long. These are shot in the offices and homes of interviewees and are then edited and webcasted. Basic motive is to show the positive and enriching ideas and experiences of the common Indians. She concluded by showcasing a video of the impact she has been creating and smiles she has been bringing on the faces of people.
The next presentation in the category of news media was by Mr. Muhammad Aminuzzaman from Rural Visual Journalism Network (RVJN), Bangladesh. The presenter shared that the whole initiative of RVJN is supported by Wall press Photos and organized with the help of Big Picture Library Ltd. The aim of RVJN is to connect the issues of rural Bangladesh to the main stream media so that their voices can reach the correct departments in the shortest time. This is very important as the access to media in a country like Bangladesh suffers a lot of biasedness. They do this with the help of iPad Mini clamped on a stand. These devices are being given to the rural reporters who shoot the video and are capable of creating a multimedia report with the help of this device. They cover various issues related to the life of villagers and then publish them on the website. RVJN have so far covered almost half of the country and by the end of next year aim to cover whole country. The biggest challenge however they are facing is that of making their venture sustainable in the next three years and also the quality of the reporting done. The efforts are on and we expect that their venture would be more successful in the coming years.
The following presentation was by Mr. Avneendra Tripathi from OneIndia.in. The presenter shared that they are countries number 1 multi-lingual portal. They very early realized that the need of content in the vernacular languages was increasing and thus they started operations in the year 2000. They started with 4 languages abut now have expanded in many more languages. They cover basically the news and entertainment industry. This is an amazing effort to create awareness about native languages.