Published: Friday 30 September 2005

Rural India India

Indian grassroots film-makers and non-governmental organisations plan to form a grassroots broadcasters' network to spread awareness on developmental and social issues in rural India using films. This was announced at a seminar -- Using video for development -- organised on August 24, 2005 by the New Delhi-based OneWorld South Asia (owsa), the Ahmedabad-based sewa (Self Employed Women's Association) and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

Namrata Bali, general secretary sewa, said: "We have used video for teaching, training, informing, recording testimonies of women and even for court hearings. Barely-literate women, some of who stay in slums, have made these films''. Development journalist Rahul Dev said , "Unless the news is sensational -- farmers suicides or starvation deaths -- the mainstream media does not pick it up." "The way out is to get advertisers, proprietors and the marketing people on one platform. Sensitising only the mainstream journalists, without reaching out to the other players in the media, will not help," he added., Basheerhamad Shadrach, director, owsa was, however, not as optimistic. "Video can be a very powerful medium of creating awareness on development issues. But we might still find it difficult to mainstream these films," he said.

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