Citizen Journalism: 2 Hyperlocal Media Initiatives That Are Creating Real Dialogue In Rural India

[The first of a two-part series by Dasra, this is an article shedding light on the evolving role of the fourth estate and the potential of the democratic media to catalyse tangible social change in relatively remote regions of the country. While mass media has infiltrated urban India thanks to the internet and mobile technology, the Indian hinterland too is finding its way to nurture and sustain platforms of dialogue, a space for local apolitical issues to be aired and discussed, as they work tirelessly towards improving the citizens' quality of life. We explore two such incredibly empowering initiatives today that embody the adage 'For the people, by the people, of the people' and delve into the grassroots-level impact they have succeeded in affecting in rural and tribal communities in the country. Watch out for Part II, tomorrow.]

The Evolving Face of Traditional Indian Media

independent, inclusive and accessible
media for and by the people

CGNet Swara: Creating Dialogue In Central India

A woman is interviewed by a citizen journalist for for CGNet Swara. Source:

Gram Vaani: An Independent Media Company Facilitating Dialogue in the North and North-Eastern Parts of India

“Initially, our growth was constrained because we were only a technology provider and it was difficult to scale through scattered NGOs. With Mobile Vaani, we evolved into a media company that runs its own network, which is enriched by partnerships but doesn’t depend on them.”
Jharkhan Mobile Vaani facilitates crowdsourced audio-journalism. Source:

“It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.” – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter

Words: Akanksha Malhautra

[Akanksha was the lead researcher and author of Dasra’s report ‘Good to great: Taking the governance leap in India’, during which process she interviewed over 30 governance experts across stakeholder groups including non-profits, funders, academics and government. She has been selected to attend the Latin American Forum on Global Governance in Brazil this year alongside government and development sector professionals from 30 countries. She has also led research and writing on Dasra’s reports on mobiles for governance, and domestic violence. She has a dual Masters in Business from ESCP Europe and Management Development Institute Gurgaon, as well as a Bachelor in Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering.]
To learn more about social organizations like Gram Vaani and CGNet Swara that are adopting a variety of powerful approaches to strengthen governance in India, read Dasra’s report ‘Good to great: Taking the governance leap in India’ here.

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