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Women in India use mobile news service to report incidents of rape

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Women in India use mobile news service to report incidents of rape

Margaret Looney | November 27, 2013

A community news outlet is giving a voice to victims of rape in a country where that crime is often swept under the rug.

Women are reporting incidents of rape, other forms of sexual assault and sexual harassment using CGNet Swara. The community journalism platform enables tribal people in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh to call in reports via their mobile phones.

The Indian public is still reeling from the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman last December. Rape cases “are still going unreported by the media and unprosecuted by the courts,” writes Elizabeth Segran in the Global Post. Rape victims rarely find justice in India’s court system.

But in Chhattisgarh, CGNet Swara reports are prompting authorities to take action. In August, three men accused of raping a tribal woman were arrested after citizen journalist Prakash Gupta called in a report to CGNet Swara.

CGNet Swara receives around 400 reports per day that cover everything from local politics to environmental issues. Women file about 30 percent of the reports.

Last month, CGNet Swara founder Shubhranshu Choudhary held a training workshop for women, many of whom are illiterate, on how to use the platform.

“All of them are from poor backgrounds, from lower castes, from rural areas," Choudhary told the GlobalPost. Still, they are clear and bold in their documentation of sexual harassment, rape and other issues, he said.

Choudhary founded CGNet Swara as part of his Knight International Journalism Fellowship in 2010.

Via Global Post

Related content:
How IVR Junction bridges the technology gap for people lacking smartphones

In rural India, a hub for tech, mobile innovation gives isolated people a voice

IJNet Editorial Assistant Margaret Looney writes about the latest media trends, reporting tools and journalism resources.

@margylooney

Image of woman training to use CGNet Swara courtesy of ICFJ.

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