Citizen journalism: in pursuit of accountability in India
Parul Agrawal former fellow and contributor to India’s Media Boom: The Good News and the Bad writes:
In July this year, in a remote area of the central Indian state of Chattisgarh, a local farmer called Naresh Bunkar did something every one of us does every day: he made a phone call. But this was a call that had remarkable results.
Naresh is a citizen journalist for a voice-based, rural community news portal called CGNet Swara. (Swara' means 'voice' in Hindi and Central Gondwana is the area in which the portal works.)
Naresh was phoning the portal that day to record an audio message of how a forestry officer had extorted a bribe of Rs 99000 (approximately £91) from the Advisasi tribal community. Under Indian law, the Advisasi's rights to their land are protected; the officer had 'sold' them deeds to land which they were legally entitled.
Naresh's story was no different to thousands of instances of corruption reported in the local, regional and national press in India. But what followed is different.
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