THIS IS HOW A COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER!
Yes, these are challenging times. People have lost jobs, the economy has crumbled, mobs have taken to the streets, Dalits, Muslims and other minorities face oppression regularly… yet, as a society, we have chosen to fight back our fears with love. From helping investigative journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta raise funds for his projects on cronyism & corporate scams, to helping the wife of a hate-crime victim approach Supreme Court, this community is at the forefront of social & political impact. Read how we supported Jignesh Mevani’s campaign in Gujarat & more!
As some of you may know, CrowdNewsing is India’s first community of individuals made up of people like you and me that helps change-makers, journalists and activists mobilise their supporters online to raise funds for their projects. And we are beginning to make serious impact.
- When Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani decided to take the electoral plunge, he had no organisation, no booth level workers – not even enough money to put up hoardings. But he did not want any funds from corporates or big political parties. And then you intervened!
More than 600 of us came together to raise 20,00,000 rupees for his campaign from Vadgam seat to ensure he only focuses on the people, and not funds!
And guess what? Jignesh Mevani won the election by 20,000 votes and he is now an MLA!
You can read more about the campaign on DailyO, Quint, Live Mint, The News Minute, Newsclick, Janta Ka Reporter.
- Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta was facing litigation for his path-breaking work exposing crony capitalism in India. No publication was ready to risk his services as an Editor. Once again, it came down to the citizens of India to fight for our right to know! More than 460 of us raised 18,00,000 rupees for the journalist and he has since been investigating a series of stories to expose the corporate-govt nexus. He has already broken exclusive stories like Gujarat’s cube scam, the realities of spectrum deals and published Subir Ghosh’s important book exposing the GSPC scam in Gujarat.
“So what is CrowdNewsing? And how is it different from all the other Civic Technology platforms/organisations that have been there in the market?
The one reason why our campaigns are impactful and relatively more effective than most other crowdfunding platforms is our unapologetic political position on things we do. Yes, we know our risk quotient is high, but we are also mindful of the challenges that we face as a society.”
The viral video of a West Bengal labourer being hacked and burnt alive in Rajasthan sent shockwaves across the world. More than the killing itself, it was frustrating to see that most previous hate-criminals were rewarded by their respective governments. Our community stepped in again and more than 560 of us have already raised 7,60,000 rupees and we will be sending this money to Afrazul Khan’s wife and three daughters. And more importantly, we are also hoping to set up a legal fund for lawyers to move Supreme Court.
You can read about the campaign here: The Print, Indiatimes, Newsclick, Caravan Daily
The campaign then helped Gulbahar bi, the wife of Afrazul move Supreme Court to demand justice. A team of lawyers led by Fuzail Ayyubi handled the case, which was argued by lawyer Indira Jaising.
The riots in Kasgunj, Uttar Pradesh were very disturbing. In the aftermath, when the media was gone, All India People’s Forum launched a campaign on CrowdNewsing to support the family of Chhotan Qureshi, a chicken-seller who was attacked by a mob and left in a vegetative state. Ignored by the government and the mainstream media, Chhotan’s family was facing starvation when our community stepped in. More than 400 of us raised close to 10 lakh rupees for his family.
Remember Ankit Saxena?
He was killed for daring to love someone from another community. His parents refused to let opportunists play politics over his son’s death.As a result, he received no compensation from either the Central or the state government in Delhi. Ankit was his family’s sole bread-earner and now his old parents are struggling. Once again, our community stepped in.
We also helped raise thousands of rupees for innocent youths, mostly from the Muslim community who were viciously framed by investigating agencies in the name of counter-terrorism. Now acquitted of all charges, they are back with their families and are struggling to rebuild their lives. Together we helped pay school fees for their children and set-up small businesses.
- When news reports of Justice Loya’s mysterious death started coming out from Maharashtra, a group of citizens under the All India People’s Front decided to intervene and create awareness about the issue in the National Capital. A conference was held where senior lawyers, editors and the journalist who investigated the story were flown down from Maharashtra. Within 48 hours, the Crowdnewsing community raised enough funds to bear the costs. The conference was covered by a huge contingent of mainstream media and the next day, Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter.
- Earlier, the elections in Uttar Pradesh saw widespread communal polarisation. We crowdfunded a survey of the Muslim community to hear about their concerns and aspirations. The survey was carried by The Hindu, The Quint, Business Standard, Firstpost, The Statesman, Catch Newsamong others.
- It was around 9 PM on September 5, 2017 when we were watching with horror pictures of journalist Gauri Lankesh lying in a pool of blood. We knew we had to go out and protest again and we were waiting for someone to give a clarion call. Then we saw some news channels trying to give the story a spin. They started blaming Naxalites for the killing when Gauri had herself received death threats for her writings against communalism from Hindutva fanatics. We stepped up and created a Facebook event ourselves. Within hours we had a few hundred shares and hundreds of people turned up the very next morning for protests. Our protests ensured we didn’t let propaganda hold centre-stage.
We have also run campaigns to help small news organisations like Dalit Media Watch and we are hoping to help many similar independent news startups.As you would have noticed from above, we are only focussing on the silver-linings for now. Jignesh in politics, Paranjoy in Journalism and campaigns against hate crimes. As we step into 2018, we are hoping to super-charge many more activists, politicians, journalists and anyone who is trying to inspire change in the world we live in. We just have one criteria though: believe in the power of love over fear.
Bilal Zaidi, Anand Mangnale, Sabika Abbas Naqvi, Akshay Bajaj and the rest of the CrowdNewsing team.
For feedback, ideas and inputs, please send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org