I am part of the Auro Media for Social Change team here, which just started in March 2011. This team is a new branch of Auro Media, which does all the communications work for the Sri Aurobindo Society. The mission of Auro Media for Social Change is to help create and facilitate media that is produced by the people, for the people. Recently they worked with the village development project SARVAM to start a village newspaper there.
There is so much media coming into the homes of Indians. Every home in the Tamil Nadu villages has a radio and a TV (with cable). In 2006, politicians gave out free electronics in exchange for votes.Even if I could get past the idea of buying votes, it still makes my blood boil to think about how TV is used as a cultural control device, a major distracter that makes people lethargic and compliant, rather than independent and enlightened. Tamil Nadu actually decided to make this popular tactic illegal in March 2011. So there’s hope, but of course this policy was motivated to curtail corrupt elections, not to stop people from watching TV.
Indians watch HBO, CNN; all foreign movies and tv from the major media moguls, full of light-skinned people who live tv-perfect lives that usually have nothing to do with the subcontinent. The blog Media and People shows the village-produced newspaper, Gramam Pudiya Udayam, on the right sidebar. Take a look at it, it’s pretty cool.
Venus and I also just finished the second monthly edition of the newly created newsletter Media and Lives. This month’s theme was ‘Blogs: the Power of Us.’ (I swear this topic was Venus’ idea). Blogs have been a powerful tool for providing grassroots information and for activist organizing around the world, but are just beginning in India. I wrote an article about how to start a blog. Since I have a full two months of blogging experience, I’m pretty much an expert. 🙂 Here is the link to download the newsletter: Media and Lives-Blogs-Aug 2011