A rural newspaper that’s a voice of the women

The district it is located in is one of India’s 200 poorest. There is practically no industry worth its name and the local economy survives on rain-fed agriculture. Literacy levels are abysmal, and only one in three women knows how to read and write. The sex ratio is skewed in favour of men. And incidents of sexual violence are high.

What happens a group of lower-caste and tribal women join hands to launch a newspaper, because the existing media in the area was not reporting on issues that concerned them, because they wanted to enter a male domain, because they wanted to prove that they too could make it as journalists?

The result is Khabar Lahariya, a 4,000-circulation rural newspaper that reaches over 150 villages in Chitrakoot district. And doesn’t accept advertisements that promote casteism, fundamentalism, sexism, violence or superstition.

Kalpana Sharma writes in the Sunday magazine of The Hindu:

Khabar Lahariya is a small shining star on the media horizon. Its circulation figures are not so important as the very fact that it exists, that it comes out every fortnight and that it exposes the hollowness of much that masquerades as “news” in mainstream media.

Read the full column: And now the good news

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