HERE ARE THE 5 Ws of a GRASSROOTS MEDIA REVOLUTION
Khabar Lahariya, (‘News Waves’) is an eight page weekly local language newspaper brought out by a collective of rural women journalists. With over 40 members, Khabar Lahariya team sells 6000 copies across 600 villages of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to a readership of 80,000 per week. Khabar Lahariya began as the only Bundeli newspaper in India and now has editions in Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Hindustani and Bajjika. It is the only local language newspaper that covers news off the radar of mainstream media. It connects with its rural audiences with its unique local language content, rarely seen in printed form. Khabar Lahariya was conceptualized by a Delhi based NGO, Nirantar, a Centre for Gender and Education.
2002 – Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh – First Bundeli Edition
2006 – Banda, Uttar Pradesh – Second Bundeli Edition
2010 – Sitamarhi, Bihar – First Bajjika Edition
2012 – Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh – Third Bundeli Edtion
2012 – Lucknow, Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar- Awadhi and Hindustani edition
2012 – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – First Bhojpuri Edition
2013 – Online Edition
Khabar Lahariya has its roots in Bundelkhand, a region ridden with poverty, low literacy rates, skewed sex ratio, high gender and caste-based violence and poor health education and employment. In these areas, KL is a space for women journalists, in a context where there are none.
Khabar Lahariya is run by a collective of rural women journalists, most of them from marginalized communities- in terms of their caste, religion and ethnicity. Many are women who have has no or little access to formal education. This collective reports, writes, edits, designs, takes photographs and illustrates for the newspaper and then distributes it far and wide and the end of the week. Like its reporters, KL ‘s 80,000 readers are also those in media dark areas; daily wage earners, farmers, teachers, activists, panchayat administration, politicians and students in remote rural areas.
“This is a dacoit ridden area; no one comes here. But this is my beat, my readers are here and my news is here.” – Suneeta, 27, KL reporter, Naraini Block, Banda
Suneeta has been reporting from Bhagolan, a village in Naraini block of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh- a region mainstream newspapers rarely venture into. Bhagolan is largely inhabited by tribals, most of whom never went to school. Khabar Lahariya is the only newspaper they get and their only connection to the outside world.
Khabar Lahariya empowers poor rural populations to access rights and resources. KL plays the role of a media watchdog. To work towards this, Khabar Lahariya skills rural women to be agents of information production and dissemination.