See CNN's coverage/version of this story here
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, George Lessard <mediamentor@...> wrote:
> Choudhary, a former BBC journalist, saw a link between the rural poor's
> exclusion and the violence wracking the region. "It is natural when your
> concerns are not heard you find another avenue -- that avenue has happened
> to be a violent ideology called Maoism."
> Mobile is the the most democratic tool in India today
> Shubhranshu Choudhary, journalist and founder of CGNet Swara
> And so with support from the International Center for Journalists, with
> whom he is a Knight International Journalism Fellow, Choudhary began an
> experiment in citizen journalism.
> "We understood it would have to be cheap and that voice would be key --
> because people are not comfortable with reading and writing," he said. The
> initial phase of the experiment, which revolved around the internet and
> community radio stations, "failed completely," he admitted. But then he
> took a different tack, focusing on mobile phones, which have a 74%
> penetration rate in India.
> "Mobile is the most democratic tool in India today," said Choudhary.
> Although the mobile penetration rate in rural areas was about half the
> national level (36%), phones were still a common sight even in the most
> remote villages. "When we started working in 2004-5 in the villages, we did
> not see mobile phones. But there has been a sea-change. Mobile phone use
> has exploded."
> Read more: Indian phone features 29 Quran translations
> The result, CGNet Swara (roughly, the "voice of Chhattisgarh") is a voice
> portal that allows anyone with a mobile phone to record or listen to news
> and items of interest. The operation is simple: on dialing the service's
> number, users press "1" to record a report, or "2" to listen to one. Once a
> report is recorded, it is verified and edited by a team of moderators
> before being made accessible on the service.
> The service "did better than we ever expected," said Choudhary. He added
> that in the two years since it began, Swara has had 9,000 users, logged
> more than 30,000 phone calls and published 750 news stories, including a
> number which have had a big impact. [...]
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: S.Choudhary <smitashuATgmailDOTcom>
> Date: 26 February 2012 15:21
> Subject: Phone journalism gives a voice to India's rural poor
> Dear George,
> Thought you may like to read a story on CGnet Swara as part of CNN coverage
> of Mobile World Congress.
> Shubhranshu Choudhary
> Knight International Journalism fellow
> E-mail: shuATcgnetDOTin
> Mob (IN): +91 9811066749
> Content of the people, by the people, for the people
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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