With the launch of Community Correspondents Network, the marginalised will get to tell their stories

The mainstream media’s neglect of socially marginalised communities may well have triggered the launch of a network for and by the groups – Community Correspondents Network (CCN).

“Earlier, I was scared to put forth issues in front of the local administration. Now that I am trained, the fear has vanished. I have earned a sense of courage and equality,” says Ramsakhi Ahirwar, a member of CCN. Ramsakhi, a 32-year old video campaigner from Khamaria village, Madhya Pradesh used to roll 2,500 bidis a day to feed her family; but now she rolls a camera.

At present, CCN has 12 correspondents but over the next six months some 50 correspondents are expected to come forward and screen 400 videos at the community level. These correspondents will capture the stories of change, struggle, aspirations and success of their communities. The video content generated by the network will be distributed through various networks and be used to act as a catalyst with the administration to act in the interest of the communities.

CCN kicked off the launch in the Capital over the weekend with a panel discussion.

Participating in it, Vinod Mehta, Editorial Chairman, Outlook group said the emphasis should be on how to get such stories to be a part of the mainstream media and to sharpen skills that ensure stories are newsworthy. While it was true that mainstream media did not give issues as much space as required, it was also true that there was greater exposure to cases of injustice particularly by the electronic media. 

Stalin K of Video Volunteers highlighted the ability of the community correspondents to create direct impact by raising hyper local issues. The training and good story telling by the community correspondents has allowed the videos to create much wider impact, he said.

CCN is an initiative by Poorest Areas of Civil Society (PACS) and Video Volunteers who have come together to train and nurture young men and women from socially excluded groups. These young villagers work towards highlighting issues of discrimination and denial of entitlements in the community they come from.

CCN handpicks good articulators from the community and teaches them video techniques and other skills, allowing young people to act as change makers for their community. “CCN will have a remarkable impact on society. It will bring a change to how media projects the unheard India and help us understand the subtle forms of discrimination,” said Sam Sharpe, Head of Department for International Development, India, PACS.

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