Alternative Media as Serving the Community: a Content Analysis of Dalit Websites and Blogs in India
Dalits have been subjected to numerous atrocities and injustice for centuries. It’s been 68 years since India attained its freedom; still the practice of caste system prevails in most part of it. The political rhetoric and constitutional protection have failed in eradicating caste cruelties and Dalits continue to bear the brunt of caste violence and discrimination. According to the census 2011, in India Dalits including Scheduled Tribes comprised 25 percent of total Indian population and the by now the percentage would have gone much higher. Dalit empowerment and upliftment from the current status quo is much needed only from the constitution and politicians but from the mass media as well as they have great potential to achieve this phenomenon. Mass media can create awareness and empower Dalits as they have the capability as prime mover of change in the society. Unfortunately, the mass media which supposed to present unbiased social reality and resort balanced position, has shifted its focus as profit-making Corporation. Thus are the emergence of alternative media came into being. Alternative media helps the marginalized and the minority communities to speak against the oppression at the gross root level. To call a media an alternative media, it should have characteristics of an alternative media. Bailey et al., 2008 in their book understanding alternative media propose four basic approaches to alternative media which make a medium as an alternative media. One of the approaches is that an alternative media should ‘serve the community’. This article focuses on how Dalits in India have begun using internet as the alternative media for sharing information and how Dalits websites and social networking sites such as blogs fits into the approach ‘serve the community’.
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