Who we are
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NETWORK OF WOMEN IN MEDIA, INDIA
The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is a professional association linking women journalists and other women working in or on the media across the country. It came into being at a national meeting in Delhi in January 2002 after a process of network-building which began in 2000.
The national meeting was preceded by a series of regional meetings – held in Bangalore (November 2000), Jaipur (March 2001) and Shillong (September 2001) – which explored the need for and purpose of such a network. These brought together female media professionals from a number of states working at various levels in a range of media in different languages as well as diverse fields within journalism. The idea of a countrywide network was enthusiastically and almost unanimously endorsed by participants at both the regional and the national workshops. Local networks were established in several places before the launch of the national one.
Both the national and the local media women’s networks aim to fulfil multiple objectives, both professional and societal. Apart from their obvious function as a forum for addressing issues related to the media as a workplace, they facilitate career advancement through the sharing of information and resources and mentoring. Training and professional enrichment programmes are also on the cards. In addition, they help highlight important issues relating to media standards and ethics, as well as the vital role of the media in society, especially in a developing, democratic and pluralistic country like India.
The NWMI is a voluntary, informal, non-hierarchical, participatory collective that has no institutional affiliation, infrastructure or paid staff. It is almost entirely dependent on members’ contributions of time, energy and money (the latter in the form of modest annual subscription fees, hitherto introduced only by some local networks to meet local needs).
Local networks affiliated to the NWMI are autonomous and free to evolve their own identities, structures and modes of functioning, as well as their own priorities and programmes. At the same time, through their informal association with the national network, members have the benefit of being connected to a larger community of colleagues across the country and having the opportunity to gain strength from each other, learn from each other’s experiences and, above, all enjoy interactions at the professional and personal levels. An e-group facilitating communication at the national level has been successfully functioning since 2005.
The NWMI website (www.nwmindia.org), launched in February 2003, has evolved into an interesting, useful and effective forum that seeks to promote both professional and personal enrichment. It has received enthusiastic response from women journalists and media-watchers, including many from outside the country. Several other media and women’s websites have provided links to the NWMI site, and postings on the site have been further disseminated through other media.
More importantly, members of the NWMI and others, including media practitioners, students and researchers in India and overseas, have benefited from the website in many ways. Feedback received at meetings, as well as through e-mails and postings on the site, have revealed that it has become an increasingly useful source of information concerning media and gender related news and analysis, as well as professional opportunities ranging from jobs to training. Women journalists (and, presumably, others) based outside the main metropolises, who had little access to such resources in the past, are now able to make use of announcements on the site about scholarships and fellowships, competitions and awards, workshops and conferences, and a number of other opportunities. The site has also enabled the dissemination of news concerning women journalists, including awards received, honours bestowed, books launched, and so on, adding to the sense of belonging and community. (Unfortunately, the website has been stagnating for a few months now, chiefly due to lack of funds, which makes it difficult to keep it updated.)
To sum up, the networks – at the national and local levels -- came into being to meet a felt need among women in the media. Over time they have generated a growing, spreading, comforting and empowering sense of belonging to a larger community of media women who care about each other, about professionalism and ethics in the media, and about gender and other important issues relating to human rights, democracy and development.
The periodic national-level meetings of the NWMI have, since 2004, become an eagerly anticipated annual feature of network activity. They constitute the only regular opportunity for media women from across the country to meet, get to know each other, and discuss issues of common interest and concern.
The multiple purposes of these annual get-togethers include:
These meetings are typically held in different cities every year, hosted by the local network there. The agenda of each meeting is put together by the local organisers in consultation with the entire network. While designing the programme, the aim has been to make the experience both personally fulfilling and professionally rewarding.
NWMI members travel to the annual meetings at their own expense. The host network usually offers local hospitality on the basis of local fund-raising efforts. After the first national meeting in Delhi in 2002, meetings have so far been held in Mumbai (2004), Hyderabad (2005), Kolkata (2006), Bengaluru (2007), Pune (2008), Imphal (2009), and Kozhikode (2010). After a 2-year hiatus (occasioned by various factors), the 8th national meeting, marking the 10th anniversary of the NWMI, was held in Mumbai in February 2013.
The annual meetings serve as important platforms for the continuing education and conscientisation of women in the media. Special efforts are made to ensure that each meeting provides an opportunity for participants to (a) analyse media coverage of a wide range of events and issues and to figure out ways of ensuring that vital issues confronting society are hightlighted in the media in a holistic manner, and (b) become aware of macro developments in the media which have the potential to impact media content in multiple, not always positive, ways. The hope and expectation is that these meetings contribute in various ways towards safeguarding and strengthening the role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy.
i) Malti Mehta, Producer, Educational Multi Media Research
Centre & Head, Centre for Development Communication: email@example.com
ii) Dr.Rupa Mehta, Programme Executive, Doordarshan Ahmedabad:
i) Anita Cheria, Independent Journalist: firstname.lastname@example.org
i) Ritusmita Biswas: email@example.com
i) Sonal Kellogg, Special Correspondent, Asian Age: firstname.lastname@example.org
ii)Parul Sharma, Chief Sub-editor, Jansatta: email@example.com
i) R Akhileswari, Spl Correspondent, Deccan Herald, firstname.lastname@example.org
ii) Gayathri, Communications Consultant, email@example.com
Preethy A M , Special Correspondent, Mathrubhumi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kozhikode (for Northern region)
Chitra Ajith, Independent journalist: email@example.com
Reji R. Nair, Reporter, Mathrubhumi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kochi (for Central region)
Meena Divakar, Independent Journalist: email@example.com
Sandhya Balasuma, Senior Correspondent, Manorama News: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thiruvananthapuram (for southern region)
K. A. Beena, News Editor, Doordarshan: email@example.com
Meera Ashok, Independent TVl Programme Producer: firstname.lastname@example.org
i) Sameera Khan, Independent journalist: email@example.com,
ii) Meena Menon, Spl Correspondent, The Hindu: firstname.lastname@example.org,
iii) Kalpana Sharma, Independent journalist: email@example.com
i) Manipur: Anjulika Thingnam, Freelance: firstname.lastname@example.org
ii) Meghalaya: Linda Chhakchhuak, Grassroots: email@example.com
iii) Assam: Teresa Rehman, Principal Correspondent, Tehelka: firstname.lastname@example.org
i) Manipadma Jena, independent development journalist and communications consultant (email@example.com )
ii) Sanghamitra Pradhan, News Editor, Hindustan Samachar: (firstname.lastname@example.org )
i) Sandhya Taksale, Editor, Pratham Books: email@example.com
ii) Manaswini Prabhune, Freelance: firstname.lastname@example.org
i) Ammu Joseph, Independent Journalist, Bangalore: email@example.com
ii) Laxmi Murthy, Consulting Editor, Himal Southasian: firstname.lastname@example.org
The NWMI is open to centres being formed in other cities across the country.