Channel 19: A Platform Truly from the People

Hi there, I'd like to introduce myself, as I'm a new member of this newly formed social media network Channel 19. What attracted me first and foremost about this online platform is that everything that is showcased and issues we focus on are about communities in rural and urban India who make their own media.

As a filmmaker and visual arts experimenter, I'm excited about working as the online manager for Channel 19 because I will be transforming media made by local communities into media accessible to global communities, who can watch, share and take action upon online. This literally means taking 30 minutes of un-subtitled DV footage with lots of man-on-the-street interviews, reporter style soundbites and documentary footage amongst other shots, and cutting this down into 5-10 minutes worth of material which will tell the story and yet still be true to the content. This is genuinely media produced from the bottom up. Firstly, let me share with you why Channel 19 was created. The name, which we need to change soon, is based after Article 19 of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's a project of Video Volunteers and the India-based partner NGO, Drishti Media Arts, as these NGOs have set up community video units with several NGOs in India and in Brazil. The concept of a CVU is modeled around a production house that creates media for a broadcaster, which in this case is the NGO. The online space we've created on Channel 19 can be viewed as a network that gathers all these shows on various issues and distributes them out to the global audiences, such as yourself.

This is somewhat the stumbling block I now face as the editor for the online content – how to make this media engaging and relevant when there's so much online to weed through.

I have about 30 films from the various six CVUs set up across India, and these magazine-style videos have been shown across various villages and slums across the country. When I remind myself of the impact some of these films have made – whether its getting 700 families to demand land rights, or whether its getting people to push the local government to provide them their basic amenities - it hits that if the number of views could multiply by hundreds, imagine what could happen. And this is why I believe that there is a place for this media online. You should also have the right to find a story that is genuine and directly delivered from the people in poor communities here to you, wherever you may be.

So please do suggest blogs, channels, interactive platforms to share our content!

Written by VV's online manager Ruchika Muchhalla.

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