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Orissa tribals use communication technology to herald change in region

October 13, 2011 - Koraput

In an attempt to bring development in the Maoist-affected areas of Orissa, activists are helping tribals to set-up services of recording and broadcasting news about incidents taking place in the remote areas.

The initiative taken up by a group of social workers and journalists is seen as promoting community participation in development of the region and empowering the marginalised communities.

Tribals are being trained to provide news and record events, ranging from Maoist atrocities and government's apathy to Malaria outbreak and drugs availability in the hospitals.

The recordings are then sent to a server centre located in Bangalore where the recordings and their English translations are made available on the website.

Afzal Khan, an activist, who has been associated with the service for more than two years, said that the technology enables the locals to stay abreast with the happenings in the state.

"From two years, I have been associated with C Gnet Swara. This technology helps the tribals in our area to record the atrocities of police and Maoists and other incidents are immediately sent on the news through the medium of C Gnet, which enables everyone in the region to know about the happenings in the area," Khan added.

Shubhranshu Choudhary, a journalist and the founder of this service said that the aim was to democratise media and eliminate the problem of language barrier.

"We want to develop a platform for the tribals in this area where they can talk about their issues in their own language, some people translate it and the matters reach the persons, who can resolve them. This will therefore, prevent tribals from resorting to the Maoists or violence," he said.

Choudhary also trains locals in media workshops.

Equipped with mobile phones, the news volunteers scour the region, investigating occurrings in the distant areas and disseminating it to the world.

Sumitra, one such volunteer said that the service helps them in bringing forward the issues that are not always identified by the mainstream media.

"There are many places in our tribal dominated areas where no government project is implemented properly because they are inaccessible. The problems of the locals in those areas are not being highlighted in the mainstream media. The C Gnet is an effort to highlight the issues of the poor tribals and empower them. I am happy to be a part of this process," she said.


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