Taaza Khabar: Journalists meet to discuss news - Part 1
Director: Bishakha Datta; Cinematographer: Ranu Ghosh
Duration: 01:01:09; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 285.905; Saturation: 0.055; Lightness: 0.477; Volume: 0.181; Cuts per Minute: 25.965
Summary: Part of the footage of the film Taaza Khabar directed by Bishakha Datta and produced by Nirantar. The film is about the journey of a team of all women journalists of Khabar Lahariya (a grassroots newspaper published by the women themselves) through several obstacles. The determined efforts are to ensure the 62nd issue of Khabar Lahariya reaches its readers on time. The women are from Chitrakoot district in U.P. who report stories that find no space in mainstream media. It also portrays how these women have created their own space and established their identity in a context where patriarchy and caste-based discriminations are dominant. In this event, the Khabar Lahariya journalists meet to discuss their news stories, sharing their experiences while they discuss and argue about various issues and challenges encountered in the process of their investigation.
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All the journalists of Khabar Lahariya meet to discuss news and the stories that would go into the next newspaper edition. Meera, the editor, moderates the session. She draws four columns and eight tables on the white board in preparation to write points during the discussion. She opens the meeting and asks anyone from the group to start. Mithilesh begins by sharing her story about the spread of malaria in one of the villages and the problems encountered by the people. Some such problems are the lack of proper infrastructure like roads that makes it difficult for them to commute to get medical help. As a result of the illness, eight people lost their lives. Mithilesh constantly looks at her notes and reads out what she has written. Meera intervenes and tells her not to read it out, but to speak it out from her understanding. She also asks her to give more details of the story such as which village this story comes from and when the illness started. Mithilesh clarifies that this is from Khajuria village and the illness set during the monsoon season (June-August). She spoke to the authorities who denied that any illness was present. The medicines given were also not proper and only one kind of medicine was given. Manju asks if any other illnesses are present there and Mithilesh tells her it's only malaria. The others ask her more questions and discuss issues of the victims of the disease and how they are not given adequate treatment that leads to their deaths.
At this point, Shalini from Nirantar gives her opinion and advices Mithilesh to speak to the CMO and that if she is uanble to, then they can write to him. She also asks Mithilesh the reason for the spread of the illness, to which she explains the causes of unhealthy water that the people end up drinking. They discuss other issues of whether the illnesses are diagnosed correctly. Meera then suggests that Mithilesh definitely must talk to the CMO and that someone else should also go along with her, to which Shalini supports the idea of two people going. Mithilesh acknowledges the suggestion and nods in agreement.
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Meera then takes over and asks the group if they think Mithilesh's story should go in the 'Taaza' news page (This refers to the hot/main news that generally comes on the front page of the newspaper). They agree that it is a story worth printing in the taaza section, as it is a serious problem and needs to be highlighted. The group further discuss details of the story before Meera brings back the meeting in track to decide reasons for which this story needs to go in the main news sections. She asks the journalists for their inputs. After a brief discussion, everyone agress that this news story needs to go to the main page. Meera declares this, and starts to write in the first box of the white board the heading "Taaza Khabar" and briefly writes the issue of the story in a line.
Meera then sits back and asks for the next story. They decide to discuss data collected by all the journalists during the elections from different blocks. All of them have covered it at various places. Kavita, Meera, Manju, Shakila and Shanti share their experiences during their coverage of the election polls. Shalini from Nirantar asks Shanti if she would stand for elections, to which Shanti smiles and says she would if she got the chance and that it depended on her fate. Meera shares an experience where she had to assert her identity as a journalist in order to gain permission to enter one of the election venues. She is very happy to share it, and the others start to talk about similar such experiences. Kavita says many times at the election booths, when she says she is a journalist from Khabar Lahariya, the reaction is that they tell her it's the first time they have seen a journalist come there. All the women smile and are proud of this bit of their experience.
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Shalini puts in perspective the specific topics that need to be written for the elections story. She points out a few things that they can look at, such as - what happens on the day of the elections, the issues surrounding publicity and results. After some more discussion on various issues around elections, Meera says they are running short of time and hence will need to quickly decide on the stories.
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Manju starts by sharing her experience covering the elections. Kavita picks up from there and gives her point of view. They all decide to write on Ramnagar as all of them have visited that area. They decide on the other areas they will write about. Mithilesh gives a few statistics about votes of one of the places she covered and ways in which the candidates forced people to vote for them. They then discuss about the status of women candidates. The journalists get into a very active discussion about this and Meera points out two mistakes in Mithilesh's data.
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Mithilesh continues to talk about her news story and everyone silently listens to it. Meera shares a few instances of violence where the candidates influence the voters in order to gain votes. She then gives various examples with details of the booths she visited and the data of the number of people who gave votes. Shanti tells the experience of another village she visited and the state of women candidates and the issues of threat, pressure and force used in the election process. After Shalini listens to the discussion, she suggests that the journalists talk to those winning women candidates, after finding out the percentage of women who won the elections. She insists that they take the women candidates' interviews and ask them in detail about the difficulties they faced.
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