Issue #: 
May 10, 1999


1. Thanks to the launch of satellite TV in the form of Star TV in the early 1990s, India has seen a boom in electronic media. Millions continue to have no access to clean water or basic education; however access to TV and radio has increased dramatically. This, coupled with the transition to a market economy, has fueled a consumerist, entertainment-driven media culture. Development agencies, once dependent on state-controlled radio and TV, now have to define their own space in a media environment that is competitive and market-driven.

Expanded profile: Click here.


2. "Our Voice" - "Namma Dhwani", a pilot community radio project, was conducted in Chitradurga district, Karnataka, to assess the possibilities for local participation and programme content. A monthly 30 min. programme was produced and aired on the local FM station of All India Radio in 1998. The project involved participation of local individuals and groups. Themes included watershed management, girls' education, women's health, women's self-help income-generation schemes and the impact of adult literacy programmes on rural life. Experimental broadcasts using a portable briefcase-size radio station from UNESCO will be starting June 1999. Contact Sucharita Eashwar

3. Video for Women's Voices (SEWA) - A festival of films by rural women was recently showcased in New Delhi. Trained by the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) of Ahmedabad, most of the women are poor and illiterate, and recognise video as a tool for empowerment - to document and highlight their issues and concerns. Video is an integral part of SEWA's activities: it is used for income-generation, occupational health, wage negotiations, legal interventions, teaching new skills and advocating for policy change. Contact Mirai Chatterjee

4. Healthy Highways Project - This nationwide STD/HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign for truckers has been launched by DFID and developed by Social Marketing and Communications (SOMAC), Lintas, India. It includes communication materials (booklets, audio tapes, flip charts, mobile photo exhibitions, posters, condom fliers etc) in 6 Indian languages and English and will be implemented through NGOs working directly with target groups across the country. Material is targeted at people in the transport industry including truckers, their assistants, sexual partners, employers and sex workers. Contact Gulan Kripalani

5. The Campaign Against Child Labor - Labour Day saw the Prime Minister of India receive postcards from thousands of mostly rural children all over India urging him to help eradicate child labour by promoting education as a fundamental human right. The campaign was launched by the CACL, a loose coalition of 5000 NGOs and individuals that addresses the issue of child labour and mobilises public opinion and action. 4 years ago, CACL launched a campaign of print ads that highlighted the condition of children engaged in domestic work and building construction. The ads provided a phone number, and callers were sent reference material, posters and descriptions of volunteer work. Volunteers were trained, and many have formed their own community action groups. Contact Suresh Rao

6. Increasing Media Education & Literacy - In an effort to combat excessive entertainment programming on TV and increase programmes that reflect audience needs, the Delhi-based Centre for Advocacy & Research initiated a media literacy and education effort among a cross-section of viewers. This includes providing audiences with an understanding of how media operate: the linkages between programme content, sponsorship and ad revenue, and the role of audiences in determining content. Through viewership forums, participants have advocated for more realistic and sensitive depictions of the issues and problems in their lives. Groups are now meeting on their own and will soon officially register as a legal entity called the Viewership Forum. Contact Akhila Sivadas

7. Jhabua Development Communication Project - This satellite transmission project was launched in 1997 by the Development Education Communication Unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Jhabua district, Madhya Pradesh, one of the country's economically poorest states. The project uses 150 direct reception systems in selected villages with 12 talk-back terminals plus a studio and earth station. Programmes on health, education, agriculture, forestry, panchayati raj (local governance) and cultural heritage are broadcast in evenings, supported by afternoon training programmes for development functionaries. Contact SR Joshi

8. Unnati Features - This Delhi-based service addresses gender bias in media coverage of issues relating to women and development. This bias is especially evident in the regional English and Hindi language press. Unnati advocates for and facilitates greater coverage on women's issues in the regional press by working closely both with newspaper editors and community development workers who offer a different grassroots perspective through their journalistic contributions. Unnati features have appeared in some 30 mainstream publications. Contact Shree Venkatram

9. Managing Film & TV Production (MAP) - This collaborative project of the European Union and the India Cross Cultural Programme will provide film producers and directors in India with management skills and an understanding of European film markets in order to increase business opportunities for Hindi films in Europe. Two week-long seminars will focus on production, scriptwriting, legal issues, business plans and marketing. Contact Parthiv Shah

10. For details on the previous programmes, SEARCH The Communication Initiative - Click here to search Programmes.


11. The Asian Media Information & Communication (AMIC) and EEPI Business Management school held a 3-day conference on "Media Proliferation: How can Broadcasters Best Serve the Public Interest?" Apr. 19-21 in New Delhi. Seminars focused on: the sustainability of Public Service Broadcasting; broadcasting and new technologies; balancing business and social responsibility goals in broadcasting; emerging models for PSB; and, serving the young through PSB. Contact Vijay Menon

12. The 28th International Association of Women in Radio & TV (IAWRT) Conference was in New Delhi in Feb. 1999. "Cultural Diversity - A Media Challenge" was attended by women broadcasters from Peru, Sweden, Finland, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Thailand. Broadcasters participated in a competition to select the best programmes in radio and TV on the theme "Women and Human Rights." Contact Akhila Sivadas


13. The Media South Asia Project studies the impact of new broadcasting media in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Development Studies in the University of Sussex and funded by the Ford Foundation, this study will be published early next year. Contact David Page

14. A consumer health education resource centre in Mumbai aims to empower people by providing information to promote preventive and curative health. Health Education Library for People (HELP) has books, journals, newsletters and pamphlets, audiovisual media including video tapes and computer software. Information also provided via the Internet. Most materials are in English; educational materials will be translated into regional Indian languages. Health Library website. Contact Dr Aniruddha Malpani

15. A Media Materials Resource Centre (MMRC) has been established in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh as part of the USAID Innovations in Family Planning Services (IFPS) Project. MMRC is a clearinghouse for audiovisual, print and other material on family planning and reproductive/ child health issues. MMRC procures and disseminates information including publications on media, IEC, RCH-related issues among NGOs and the public sector. Contact VS Chandrashekar


16. SW-Asia-IT is a list-server for Information Technology developments in South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) hosted by Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It provides a forum for discussion on development and use of IT in the South Asian context and seeks to expand the impact of Internet initiatives and enhance coordination among development actors in South Asia. Archives: click here.

17. India Development Network (INDEV) is a British Council supported effort working to increase access to relevant and timely information about, for and by the development sector. INDEV provides an Internet forum for sharing of solutions to development problems. It includes: an NGO directory, project database, document database, statistics database. INDEV also trains NGOs on web publishing. INDEV website. Contact Neena Jacob


Many thanks to Nirupama Sarma, Consultant, The Communication Initiative, for her contribution to this issue.