Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
Outlook.com
Opinion

How A Small Media Group Looked At MeToo Through The Eyes Of Rural Women

With Khabar Lahariya’s embedded, invested local understanding of crisscrossing relationships, or those that sour and sweeten over time, holding an absolute version of the truth became too heavy a responsibility to carry

How A Small Media Group Looked At MeToo Through The Eyes Of Rural Women
Illustration: Saahil

At Khabar Lahariya, our larger, long-term context was that of running a media institution set against the logic of media businesses—with women from the margins at the centre of news production as journalists and subjects, and poor communities as consumers of news. This was constantly challenging, editorially and otherwise. In the case of a new series, #Me­TooRural—as in many cases of structural violence that Khabar Lahariya reports on (for instance on migration, bonded labour or caste violence)—subjects of stories would share their experience off-the-record, or even on record, but would rescind their statements after the interview was over, or in a second or third conversation. In one case in Chitrakoot district, where Khabar Lahariya was founded, in the weeks between the recording of a reporter’s testimony and publication of her story, the perpetrator of harassment, once her close friend and colleague, went to jail, was released, filed a case against her and decided to contest the general election for a new ‘progressive’ party. The reporter withdrew her statement and then, broken and betrayed, reapproached Khabar Lahariya for support in the form of justice and counselling. Unlike the perpetrator, she was out of work and discredited widely online and offline. This happened again and again in the #MeTooRural series. With Khabar Lahariya’s embedded, invested local understanding of crisscrossing relationships, or those that sour and sweeten over time, holding an absolute version of the truth became too heavy a responsibility to carry.

ALSO READ: MeToo In India: The Women Who Dared To Speak Out

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