DDS recognizes the necessity of democratising media spaces and has been at the forefront of creating platforms for self-representation and amplifying the voices of the rural poor. Doing so has paved the way towards a radical shift in perspective, allowing marginalised communities to reclaim control over their narratives and challenge the dominant narratives shaped by commercial and political interests.
The establishment of the Community Media Trust (CMT) in 2001 has been a significant step towards empowering marginalized dalit rural women to control and produce their own media content. By providing them with the means to capture their images and voices, the CMT allows for an authentic representation of their experiences and challenges prevailing commercial and political interests that often perpetuate exclusionary narratives. The media produced by the CMT has been showcased in national and international film festivals, bringing attention to the important issues faced by marginalized communities.
Community Video – 1998:
Women filmmakers associated with the CMT have brought fresh perspectives to filmmaking, addressing topics such as the future of food and farming, the adverse effects of genetically engineered agriculture, water democracy, women’s control over media, and environmental sustainability. These films engage local communities in debates around food and seed sovereignty, autonomy over natural resources, and the role of markets and media. Through critical evaluations of state policies and solidarity with local communities, these films shed light on the challenges faced by rural populations and promote alternative narratives that challenge the status quo.
Sangham Radio – 2008:
Sangham Radio, established in 2008, holds the distinction of being India’s first community radio and the country’s first Dalit and all-women run radio station. It provides a platform for the marginalized, particularly women, to articulate their issues and concerns through horizontal communication within their communities and beyond. The radio station plays a vital role in reclaiming and preserving local culture, language, and traditions related to food and farming, health, and ecology. By amplifying the voices of the excluded and bringing attention to their struggles, Sangham Radio empowers marginalized women and facilitates the dissemination of their stories and perspectives to a wider audience.