On the occasion of its Founder's Day, the Charkha Development Communication Network has felicitated I. Ramamohan Rao, former Principal Information Officer Government of India and presently Chief Editor of Asian News International (ANI), for his role in encouraging the dissemination of writings written by, and on, people from the remote and conflict-affected regions of India.
Asha Shukla, veteran journalist from the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, was also honoured for her courageous and consistent reportage on the challenges facing the tribals of Chhattisgarh in the aftermath of decades of conflict in the region.
The two veteran journalists have contributed significantly to highlighting unheard voices from rural India, a mission which was pursued by Sanjoy Ghose who fell a victims to the ultras in the north east. The founder's day was observed at the Siri Fort Auditorium here on Friday.
Editor in Chief of IBN Network, Rajdeep Sardesai, who was the chief guest on the occasion, in his keynote address appreciated the unique initiative started by Sanjoy Ghose and kept alive by Charkha through its feature service that sends out writings from unknown corners of India.
He reflected on the changing role of the print media over the years, and the need for introspection on its responsibility to its readers and viewers alike.
"18 years later, in many ways, Charkha remains a voice in the wilderness, primarily because many of us in the so called mainstream media have abdicated our responsibility to do genuine public interest journalism that goes beyond the bright lights and sounds of metropolitan India," said Sardesai.
"Ironically, we have more news channels than we did in 1994, more newspapers and more magazines: yet, quantity doesn't always mean quality and the space for diversity and consequently lesser known voices and images have actually reduced," he added.
The day marks the birthday of Sanjoy Ghose, grassroots social activist who established Charkha in 1994 based on the belief that, for development process to benefit the poorest and disadvantaged sections of society, it is imperative that their voices reach policy makers and opinion leaders. He saw the media as a powerful tool in connecting the issues on the ground to policy forums and become a catalyst for change impacting the most vulnerable communities in our country.
Through communication skill building exercises and imparting an understanding of media tools, Charkha enables rural communities to report on issues of social concern. These writings are disseminated to the national and regional media through Charkha's Trilingual Feature Service in Hindi, English and Urdu. (ANI)