Khabar LAHARIYA (Rural Newspaper)
ASIA · India
Khabar Lahariya (name of the rural newspaper)
‘New Wave’ begun with 8 Rural Women Journalists
In the Bundelkhand region of India, 8 rural women began a newspaper to spread and promote information on life in rural areas. The patriarchal newspaper system does not leave much space for either women’s news or work. Khabar Lahariya (meaning ‘New Waves’), a small newspaper written in Bundelkhand’s local dialect of Bundeli, is run entirely by women from the process of gathering information through investigative journalism to the final distribution of the paper to the surrounding area.
The first edition of the paper, currently seven years old, was published in Chitrakoot district, and was funded by Nirantar – a feminist organization based in Delhi. Since that time, the women have expanded into a second site in the district of Banda. Khabar Lahariya has an estimated readership of 35,000 in over 300 villages. The contribution of the paper to rural society is extensive: not only is it a symbol for feminine empowerment within rural India, but also in addition promotes literacy, and the maintenance of literacy in the local language. The paper has steadily gained a reputation for acting as a watchdog against greed and corruption in the region. The female journalists of Khabar Lahariya are far more willing than their male counterparts to print the actual truth about strong political and community leaders.
Khabar Lahariya is a key figure in the fight to end violence against women in a region plagued by dacoity (Indian bandits). The paper directly contributes to women’s empowerment through its recruitment of women from lower caste/class backgrounds, its portrayal of raped women as victims, and the members own struggle against traditional stereotypes and control within the home. To reach all active members of their readership, distributors and the journalists are willing to walk-up to six hours to reach isolated rural villages. The members of Khabar Lahariya demonstrate a diligent understanding and commitment to women’s rights, the freedom of the press, and the end to traditional patriarchal systems.