What is citizenship journalism? It is more or less a medium through which rural people can communicate and share the ongoing problems in their state. One such example is cgnet Swara. Cgnet Swara started in 2004 as a website which acted as a middleman between the people and the news. Using the site is simple. All you need to do is call a number and tell them your problem and they’ll report it. A lot of times these stories have broken up like wildfire.
Ndtv once reported a piece of news that was reported by cgnet Swara first. The wonderful thing about this is illiterate people can also tell the news from the ground in a very convenient way. This is revolutionary. Keeping in mind that most of the people only speak their tribal language, it becomes hard for them to understand English or Hindi. But the problem with citizen journalism is that its structure is not very professional. Most of the time the calls might not result in anything because they are just opinions.
This is one of the reasons journalists are sceptical about this. Sometimes the mainstream media has used information from cgnet Swara and didn’t credit them. This makes the relationship worse. One of the officials from cgnet Swara said “Their relationship has become more antagonistic … It is very unfortunate, that local media see us as a competitor—which we cannot be and never intended to be. Every platform has its problems and strengths. We understand the structural problems of mainstream media and we want to fill in the gaps.” The initial goal of citizen journalism was to bridge the gap between the alienated theories that mainstream media provides us as entertainment. This is why the big conglomerates don’t like the idea of citizen journalism. Although it’s unprofessional, it represents the voices of the people in the rawest way possible. Since the narrative in India is controlled by a handful of people, they’ll always try to not let citizenship journalism grow. Going forward, one of the major challenges for citizen journalism is building a structure and improving fact-checking.