India’s twitter by telephone

How to do citizen journalism effectively for a community in India which has no written literature and whose language, Gondi, is endangered?

In Chhattisgarh (Central Gondwana) India an inventive non-profit service called CGNet Swara allows members of this tribal community to listen to and record local news in audio  – using the telephone (landline or mobile). Three journalists verify, moderate, edit and publish the audio. It’s been going for a year now, since February 2010 and they now receive over 3,000 calls a month.

The developer, Shubhranshu Choudhary, told that when one citizen report raised the issue of the government not paying teachers for 6 months, within 10 days the teachers were paid. He said, “The response is well beyond our expectation, so it looks like the right model for those areas.”

Other news topics include school closures, evictions, elephant tramplings and issues concerning the government and the police. India bans all radio except the government-run station.

They have a website which archives the content as well as a Twitter account (with 56 followers) and Facebook page. To record a message with the service call on (080) 4113 7280.


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