[cr-india] CR broadcasters, activists and organisations in solidarity with journalist Gauri Lankesh, brutally gunned down yesterday in Bangalore

Arti Jaiman arti at trfindia.org
Wed Sep 6 01:23:11 CDT 2017

The CR sector in India must stand in solidarity against the brutal gunning down of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh yesterday in Bangalore. We invite everyone who works for the strengthening of community voices and rights to please add their name to this statement in an act of solidarity. 

Community radio broadcasters, activists and organizations working on community media in India stand in solidarity with the brave journalists and thinkers whose voices have been brutally silenced by bullets. The murder of 55-year-old journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bangalore on the night of September 5, 2017 should be a wake-up call for each one of us working in media that puts the voices and concerns of people ahead of commercial or political interests, and for whom our constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right of Freedom of Expression lies at the core of our work and values.

Community radio in India has been set up with the express purpose of creating a media space that is of the people, for the people and by the people. This purpose and vision, of building an enlightened and empowered community, becomes threatened in the face of the series of murders of liberal and rationalist thinkers and journalists, be it anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in February 2015, communist politician and left thinker Govind Pansare also in February 2015, rationalist thinker and teacher M.M. Kalburgi in August 2015, and now Gauri Lankesh, activist-journalist and editor of Lankesh Patrike.

Community radios are ideally placed to question entrenched power structures that hold back women, deprive the marginalized of their basic rights and perpetuate systematic discrimination. If we have come to a point  when our questioning of patriarchy, calling to account of local government, lifting the veil of superstition, and engaging with questions of policy and accountability in such a diverse country leads to the kind of backlash that ended with the death of a journalist like Gauri Lankesh, then does it not threaten the fundamental questions upon which a democracy is built?

The Community Radio Policy Guidelines categorically state “Programmes for broadcast should be relevant to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community”, and subsequently “The programmes should be of immediate relevance to the community. The emphasis should be on developmental, agricultural, health, educational, environmental, social welfare, community development and cultural programmes. The programming should reflect the special interests and needs of the local community.” Any meaningful dialogue on ‘health’, ‘development’ and ‘education’ can only be built upon a willingness of question patriarchy and superstition, a willingness to keep an open mind to contrary opinions and a willingness to measure ‘social welfare’ by turning the lens on who is left out of the development discourse.   

The murder of Gauri Lankesh, who spent her life speaking for some of the most marginalized citizens of India, be it Dalits, the downtrodden and women, is a reminder for all of us community radio broadcasters to renew our commitment to use radio as a tool for furthering the vision of a just and fair society as framed in our Constitution. It is a vision, which each and every citizen of India is bound to follow in letter and spirit.

We join the voices of protest against this silencing of dissent and demand a swift investigation into the murder of Gauri Lankesh and the arrest of her killers.

September 6, 2017


Name                                                        CR Station / Organisation Name, Location

Arti Jaiman                                                Gurgaon Ki Awaaz Samudayik Radio Station, Gurgaon, Haryana  

 Arti JaimanStation DirectorGurgaon Ki Awaaz Samudayik Radio
Gurgaon Ki Awaaz is the only civil society community radio station in the National Capital Region of India, broadcasting continuously 22 hours a day since 2009. The station is a platform for the diverse voices and communities of Gurgaon, with a special emphasis on voices left out of the mainstream media narrative. 
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