India’s Youngest Newspaper Balaknama: How did they begin their journey?
“When the voice of descent became louder than the childish cries
When the street didn’t appear as a barrier to their thoughts and suffering
Neglect, abuse, injustice humiliation, child labour should not be their fate, they decide. With this idea, they fed their hunger of being heard, by starting Balaknama.”
Balaknama is a children driven newspaper fully staffed by children from 8 to 18 years of age. The newspaper started in the year 2003 with a few children as reporters. Here is everything you need to know about India’s Youngest Newspaper Balaknama. This July, they have completed their successful 16 years journey and it is the only Children driven newspaper in the country. It is a 16-page monthly editorial format newspaper that contains stories on Children and their issues. The newspaper is supported by CHETNA – Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action.
Inside the Heart: Balaknama’s Delhi Centre in Sunder Nagari slum
We met the Delhi team of Balaknama and trust us these journalists are dreaming something big and revolutionary. Balaknama started with the idea of giving voices and confidence to the children living in slums. The Delhi Centre of Balaknama is being looked after by Shanno, who is the advisor of these children. This centre of Balaknama has four senior members including Shambhu as Editor, Deepak, Reporter and Distributor, Kishan and Jyoti as Lead Reporters.
Baatuni Reporters – Who are they?
Balaknama started with a team of 35 children in 2003 and now, they have their Baatuni Reporters (talkative reporters) all across the country. But here is the question. Who are these Baatuni Reporters? Well, we can call the “Khabri of Balaknama”. In Journalism, we often talk about the ground reporters and sources, right? For Balaknama, these children bring the lead to any news. Anjali (8) told our team how she finds a story. She says, ” We live near Nizamuddin Railway Station. While going to school or while playing, I saw a girl occupied with rag picking activity. I observed her for some days and then one day, I went to talk to her. She told me her story and then I tell it to Deepak Bhaiya and he files a report on it”. These junior journalists who are called Baatuni reporters are certainly the “Intelligent Extroverts”.
Balaknama started with a single idea of disseminating a word around the exploitation of slum children. It is pleasing and disturbing to see 8 to 18-year-old talking about issues like Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Child Labour and other misogynistic and disheartening stories. The idea, the concept and the dream is what makes them an inspiration for all.
Deepak, Reporter and Distributor at Balaknama said that “CHETNA and Bhadte Kadam have made these children, not just confident but active too. They know it when to speak and what to speak and this gives us satisfaction.” It is impressive to see how keen these children are into making authentic news. Where the journalism world is struggling with maintaining the pace in reporting about the grassroots, Balaknama is decorating the arena with Development Journalism. They have set an example of Citizen Journalism for Child Development, and we wish them all the best for the revolution they want to bring.
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