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Citizen Journalism sweeps India
India has numerous news channels but few have invested into recruiting journalists. Generally, one journalist is stationed in the state capital. He can only cover only the press briefings and any major incident that occurs around the state capital

SOME OF India’s states are bigger than many individual countries of the world. Of late, news from far-flung areas is also being reported as it happened. These have had a major impact on the government which had to initiate action in right earnest as a result. The channels which broke most stories got to enjoy massive viewership and suddenly advertisers started patronising them. Distribution networks are competing with each other to bring them on their platform. All this has happened because of a phenomenon called “ citizen journalism ” that has been sweeping India lately. The right to information and citizen journalism have given power to the people in the true sense.

Bhagalpur is a small town in the state of Bihar. A citizen journalist captured in his camera, a man accused of snatching a chain, being beaten brutally first by the mob and then by the police. The policeman tethered the accused to his motorcycle and rode some distance. The visuals caught the attention of the nation. Media pressure, coupled with widespread condemnation of the open abuse of human rights forced the Bihar government to act against the policeman involved.

Another story by a citizen journalist made the headlines in all the news networks. The story concerning the stripping of over 1,000 men in the village of Boraj, near Ajmer, shook the conscience of the whole nation. The local self-government, viz., the village panchayat, had asked the men to strip naked to establish whether any of them was involved in the rape of a 35-year-old woman from the village.Another story is of a Punjab-based citizen journalist charged of theft from trains that ferried oil. Children, men and women collecting oil in buckets was beamed and as a result, many guilty officials lost their jobs. The story of how the forest department looted and burnt down a tribal settlement for encroaching on forestland was picked up by the national and international media. A citizen reporter based in Betul, a remote corner of the country, broke this news. He has many stories to his credit. When a woman stripped and walked the streets to draw attention to the harassment she faced at the hands of her in-laws, a citizen journalist quickly broke the story to mainstream media.

Similar was the case with Gudia and Imrana.Gudia, the wife of a prisoner of war, married another man after her husband didn’t return from the warfront. Imrana, a Muslim woman, accused her own father-in-law of rape.

As of now only television news channels have been benefiting from these developments because broadband networks are yet to reach the remote corners of the country. Once the Internet is made available everywhere, stories will be reported online first.

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