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Khabar Lahariya: rural voices that matter

Khabar Lahariya, the only women-run rural digital media agency in the country, is raising funds for expansion

Reporters in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh. Courtesy: Black Ticket Films
Reporters in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh. Courtesy: Black Ticket Films

As news organizations go, Khabar Lahariya is one of a kind. It has won acclaim for establishing rural women as professional journalists in remote parts of north India. Recruited and trained by the organization, the women go on to report on everything from politics, crime and development to culture and women’s issues. With 20 reporters in 10 districts, it’s the country’s only women-run rural digital media agency.

This year, it wants to train 200 reporters to cover the “media dark areas around the country". To expand, it’s trying to raise funds. “We want to be able to train women stringers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh," says Disha Mullick, director of strategy. After closing their print edition and going all-digital in 2016, they hope to make the digital model scalable.

“We want to keep it hyper-local," says Mullick. Khabar Lahariya believes it balances the geographical bias of conventional media outlets, with reporting that has led to greater accountability of funding for rural schemes in healthcare and education.

“Even if there are local reporters, they focus on stories like which politician is coming to the area," says Mullick. “They’re not doing the everyday stuff we’re doing." More funds will allow the organization to make its training more accessible. So that teams don’t have to move physically to each district and train people, they aim to create digital training modules that allow women stringers to train themselves. “This will make them a much more active part of journalists’ networks," says Mullick. “Which are very male dominated in rural areas."

To know more about Khabar Lahariya’s fund-raising campaign, which ends on 30 April, visit here.

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