Community journalism is a powerful strategy to assist in empowering communities. It transfers power to the community and the oppressed and inspires them to take action for social change. I initiated Community Journalist Groups (CJG) in 26 districts of Bangladesh in 2009 while I was working for ActionAid.
In the wake of the twenty-first century, media is playing a very important role in fighting for human rights and establishing justice. Radio, television, newspapers and the internet are covering our successes, hurdles and promises from the social, economic, political and cultural spheres. Sadly, the participation of grassroots children, women and other marginalized groups in the role of media is hardly there. Therefore, the Community Journalist Group is our initiative to focus children, women and the marginalized people of rural areas, turn them into active citizens and help them be active in claiming their own rights.
Role of Community Journalist Group
It is mainly the youth and women from marginalized communities who are members of the CJG. The community journalists receive training on basic journalism, story writing, and advocacy from local and national level journalists and human rights activists. They write their own stories, collect news, and communicate their challenges and opportunities with wider communities through newsletters, print, and social media. CJGs also organize communities, raise voices against oppression and corruption, and initiate dialogue with local administrators and policymakers to secure their rights.
Photo: Mahbub Hasan, Year: 2010.
I co-authored a book in 2010 titled Grassroots Journalism: A Resource Book on Community Journalism to train and equip community workers and the community on writing stories for advocacy and communications. In fact, community workers write stories not only for advocacy and campaign but also for reporting to the funder(s), and writing stories for their agency website, publications, and campaign. Therefore, Grassroots Journalism will be a helpful resource for you to write stories.
Questions for Reflections:
- Do you think stories can bring positive change to our communities?
- Do you believe community journalism shift power to the community?
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