In Nashik, Maharashtra, news boards are making a steady comeback.
Public news boards have been a common sight all over India since before Independence. They were, and continue to be an easy and effective way of spreading messages. In today’s video, our Community Correspondent Anand Pagare explores the state of news boards in his city of Nashik.
Anand tells us that Nashik has between 20 and 30 public news boards. These boards were originally set up at the village level by members of the gram panchayat, and slowly spread to cities.
Though the number of news boards has increased today, the nature of messages written on them has changed. Nowadays many political parties have set up boards of their own. This has changed the nature of messages that appear on news boards; whereas ideally anyone has access to write on one, those dominated by political parties may only disseminate one-sided information.
Today, messages on news boards generally talk about political leaders’ birthdays, election campaigns, political agendas etc. This has led to an imbalance in the kind of information people have access to, for there is not enough news about developmental issues and problems affecting local communities.
In Anand’s village of Sayne, the Shiv Sena set up a news board thirty years ago. Though all the village people can write on it, Shiv Sena related news takes priority over others.
“I want to convey to people that we want to increase community dialogue.” Says Ajay Borade in the video. This requires a more democratic way of choosing who gets to write on message boards, and slowly but steadily, Nashik is moving onto that path.
Anand Pagare, who now writes frequently on news boards of his village, believes that they have the power to spread much needed awareness in society. “If there is any problem affecting my community, I now have the opportunity to send that message across the whole village within a matter of a few hours.”
– Rajyashri Goody