Amader Gramer Khobor is a first-of-its-kind online rural news service that covers daily happenings in village society, as no online news service in Bangladesh practices rural journalism with the provisions of time-to-time updating in the same day. Amader Gramer Khobor, part of Amader Gram which means “Our Village Development Project,” is unique and effective because through this tactic, village societies that are isolated can for the first time be connected.
At the moment, there is no online news service in Bangladesh that gives due importance to the daily happenings in village society. The daily newspapers in Bangladesh are published through print media from the capital city, which focuses mainly on national and international news. In the current context therefore, village society is not given enough time, priority, and allocation of news it deserves.
Amader Gramer Khobor was born out of this context to rectify this lack of rural news coverage in Bangladesh. Amader Gramer Khobor involves the greater community by targeting members of village society to participate as readers and as news reporters. The participants are selected from villages that have had previous involvement or are still involved in other Amader Gram’s projects, i.e. rural development and educational projects. Examples of individuals involved in news reporting include local youths, unemployed village members, school-dropout girls, local pressmen, and any other interested persons in village society. These news workers are selected with the idea that each of them will cover the village from which he/she is from. The rationale behind this is that the news worker has familiarity with his/her own society. In addition, it is easier for the news worker to get the stories, interview other villagers informally, and gather information. The news workers are provided with some orientation and training skills on the simple techniques of reporting, editing, data analysis, and producing publications in various forms. In their villages, these individuals report on events they have researched or been informed on by other community members.
The news online service is updated daily and covers multi-dimensional issues pertaining to village society, for example market price, childbirth, death, agricultural information, disaster preparedness, success and failure stories, accidents, achievements, development, history, culture, and other aspects affecting village life. The steps involved to publish the daily news and stories involve the news worker collecting and writing the story, sending it to the project’s principal office, the story being edited, the webmaster uploading the information online, and the Central News Hub producing it online. Local readers then reproduce this online edition into printing form at the local hub/centers available at each village and put it on display for the rest of the villagers to look at. Villagers, in other words, take part in this online rural news service as readers and news workers.
Amader Gramer Khobor is a very new initiative of Amader Gram and a first-of-its-kind online rural news in Bangladesh. Currently, the organizational staff is closely monitoring and providing supervision to ensure the success of the online rural news. Based on community feedbacks and other positive responses, Amader Gramer Khobor has been said to help connect village society, which in the current context of news media has not been given due representation. According to an Amader Gram staff, there are a good number of people in Bangladesh who are sending their blessing to this project. Some of the constraints that Amader Gramer Khobor is facing include a limited target group, where the present readers include group members of Amader Gram, local youth, and few other literate individuals in the village. These individuals though can serve as rapporteurs to villagers unable to read.
In thinking about implementing this tactic of using online rural news services to connect under-represented rural areas, the following is important to consider for the success of the tactic:
- involvement of village members,
- funding, andavailability of computers to receive the bulletins in each village targeted.
In addition, it is important to know that the following challenges that may be encountered:
- opposition from urban elites who are practicing traditional journalism,
- language and illiteracy barriers,
- funding and availability of communications tools, and
- reliance on village members to play an active role.
New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.
Areas of transferability for this tactic include rural areas in other countries that face isolation. In addition, targeted groups that face discrimination and marginalization could include indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and other people living in distant locations within a country. This tactic could also be adapted to poor urban communities seeking to establish better understanding of the issues within the community and a develop a more cohesive community through their own news.