Kamala Kanta Dash
Today as we and our dear readers celebrate the successful completion of third year of BeyondHeadlines, we are also driven to reflect on the last 36 months. Why did we start? What was our objective? What did we report? Who did get benefit because of our work? Did we question the powerful and the wealthy? Did we go beyond the Headlines? Could we contribute to the overall objective of being a public media? There are many such questions and we need to respond to these one by one.
Why did we start? BeyondHeadlines (BH) as the name suggests started with an objective to focus and cover on issues, events, individuals and ideas that the mainstream media ignores either by default or by design. BH as it is popularly known was launched to create a platform for young India that is restless and impatient for a positive and inclusive change. With the increasing corporatisation of media and shrinking space for the Mango Man, we felt there was a greater need for a sustained and committed forum. That’s how BH took birth.
What did we report? We reported a range of stories from terrorism to poverty, from communalism to corruption, from human rights to environment and from health to youth empowerment. In all these stories our stress have been the follow ups. Despite being a small media house entirely run by voluntary donations, BH has achieved incredible popularity and has reached to more than 20,000 unique readers every day who spend considerably long time in browsing through our stories and often writing to us with their suggestions, feedbacks and complaints. We have encouraged our readers to apply RTIs in their locality to bring transparency in governance.
Who did get the most benefit out of our reports? Obviously the answer is the spirit of democracy and human rights. We did not serve any particular individual, religious group, political party or business interest. We have remained non-partisan and have not received any funding from any corporate. Our agenda is people.
Did we question the powerful and wealthy? Yes we did. We have asked tough questions to the UPA government, to the BJP, to the Aam Aadmi Party and recently to the Samajwadi party government in the UP. We raised questions on drugs and medicine, we did ask strong questions on Wakf Board. We have asked for answers in the Gujarat riots, Batla House Encounter and the Muzzaffarnagar Riots and hundreds of RTIs have been filed in this regard.
Did we contribute anything in youth empowerment? Yes we did. We have been able to mobilise some support in the form of money and other attention from our policy makers, academics, activists. Read Afroz’s coverage of the celebration on his facebook timeline. (to be continued….)