We know the mainstream media does not give you the picture of what’s happening in the hinterland. And perhaps that’s why our cities fail to understand what’s going on in the rest of the country, and struggle to understand the perspective of marginalised groups and their realities.
But these community reporters are going to change that! The FREE/DEM initiative will curate and publish reports by these local and independent journalists, which will be shared with the mainstream media. But all this can only happen when we offer our support. Contribute now!
The popular belief is that India is developing; but India is more than just a few metro cities. There are many who are getting left out of this ‘development’ – particularly minority communities, women and those from marginalised communities and classes. The mainstream media do not cover the impact of development and policymaking on the lives and realities of these groups.
The FREE/DEM initiative – short for ‘Freedom & Democracy’ – is an intervention to cultivate a culture of listening and create an informed discourse on the issues. To counter fake news and imbalances in information flows, it aims to groom and strengthen credible sources of reliable reliable and relevant information at the grassroots.
The FREE/DEM initiative has helped a group of local reporters passionate about their communities and their rights come together; conducted a basic training on journalism and storytelling with them; and is publishing their stories on the online platform www.freedem.in. Their stories are stories from their communities. Undiluted. Unvarnished. Direct from the grassroots.
The issues they have reported on cover marginalized women; tribal and indigenous communities; Muslim communities; the state of education in rural India; urban slums; disaster and environment; narratives of change and resistance at the grassroots; the preservation of cultural heritages and practices; indigenous knowledge systems; and accountability in local governance.
We are raising funds to support them and enable these local reporters to continue their work. We aim to support six reporters each month to report stories from their communities.
When you support FREE/DEM, you support independent community-based journalism, and enable and empower marginalized grassroots voices.
Radha Shukla has been the station manager at community radio station Waqt ki Awaaz in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh, for the past 5 years. A key force behind the setting up of the station, her area of work covers many issues relating to intersectional feminism. Through her work she helps the women in her area voice their issues – and their narratives of domestic and sexual violence.
Jagroop has extensive experience working in radio; and currently works with Radio Bundelkhand, a community radio station based in Orchha, near Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh. His interest lies in covering the culture and lifestyle of the people in his region. He is also keen on presenting their problems to a larger audience.
Mufeed is a farmer based in Nuh, Haryana. An avid radio listener, he was initially a keen follower of community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat, a local CR station, before being a community reporter with the same channel. Mufeed aims to document stories of the oppression faced by the cross regional brides who move into Nuh district after marrying into the community.
to make them inclusive and responsive to the needs of his community.