Citizen and Community Media Conference at Deakin University

Co Media Lab was proud to partner with Deakin Institute in an international conference on citizen and community media. The conference took place on 6th and 7th June, 2019 at Deakin Downtown, Melbourne, Australia.

The conference was hosted by Deakin University, Australia and supported by India Australia Grant and Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. The conference had both Australia and international media partners. Australian media partners include Geelong FM 94.7 (the Pulse), and Gippsland FM (104.7).  International media partners include Ideosync Media combineCo Media Lab and Radio Active CR 90.4 MHZ- Jain University. Co Media Lab founders Meera K and Pinky Chandran presented at the conference.

Role of editorial stewardship in citizen journalism – Meera K 

Over the last few years, Bengaluru is becoming recognised as a city of active citizens, with many residents getting involved in civic and environmental issues, be it as members of their neighbourhood Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) or volunteers for initiatives related to sustainable waste management, lake rejuvenation or voter registration. This engagement has also become more visible now thanks to social media as well as more media coverage.

Citizen Matters, launched as a community newsmedia website in 2008, was one of the earliest Indian platforms to open up to citizen journalism in the civic space. The team believed citizens who understand local issues in the community, are best placed to articulate it. This work created the space for citizen voices and citizen journalism started taking root in Bengaluru. People’s voices are now heard — not just through Citizen Matters, but also in the mainstream media.

Over time, public discourse has started getting dominated by a number of knowledgeable people who not only cared about making a difference, but also understood issues deeply. Neighbourhood groups and special interest groups now know how to get media attention, and hence the attention of the public and politicians.

This paper explored if and how media is able to maintain their objectivity and why newsrooms need to take responsibility to evaluate citizen journalism with the same rigour as they do the work of professional reporters.

 

Meera K, speaking at the event at Deakin University, Australia.

Community Radios for Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals- Pinky Chandran and Archana Kapoor

To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, communication is crucial and critical. Community radios are best placed to constructively engage communities – people by interest or geographical, civil society and other actors, businesses and governments. They can ensure that people’s voices and priorities are considered, by enabling direct dialogues, demanding accountability and better governance, in addition to making aware and demystifying and deconstructing the SDGs targets. The success of the 2030 agenda is subject to people taking responsibility for implementing the SDGs in their communities and experiencing realistic changes. This is only possible when they understand the multiple benefits that can result in their own lives, their families and contexts. So far the debates have only focused on the supply side. In India, the government has been tracking the progress of the SDG targets at the state level, but a lot more needs to be done at the supply side, by building stake of the communities. The goals need to be communicated in a language and manner that they move beyond just policy but action. In 2018, SMART approached UNESCO and UNICEF to develop a Toolkit for Community Radio Stations that would serve a user guide for stations and other communicators. The paper is a first-person account by the authors, who have been with the stations Radio Active and Radio Mewat since its inception, and documents the experiences of developing the toolkit. The authors have been following the SDGs since its launch in 2015 at the UN headquarters and will draw from examples from the author’s earlier visits to various Radio stations in India as well as Australian Community Radio Stations.

Pinky Chandran speaking at the event.

Visit to local radio stations

The team from Co Media Lab also ended up visiting local radio stations including Geelong FM 94.7 (the Pulse), and Gippsland FM (104.7). 

Interview with Dr Susan Forde

“If you engage people in media and in media production, it is one way for them to feel, as though they belong and as if there is space for them… Community Media with its door open, is saying all the time, call us, come in, we are here for you, we want to know about you and we want to hear from you”… 

These are the excerpts from Pinky Chandran’s interview with Dr. Susan Forde, Director of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research & Prof. of Journalism Griffith University.

 

An interview with Leo Renkin And Mitchell Dye, From Australian Community Radio station 94.7 FM The Pulse conducted by Beula Anthony. 

Pinky Chandran also invited by  to 3CR 855AM Melbourne for an interview. With over 125 shows and 400+ volunteers, the station is now 43 years old and going strong. They would define themselves as politically progressive with leanings towards social justice and social change. 

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