If summarized in one sentence, ‘we are the voice of margin.’ Voice of Margin endeavours to give a voice to those who have been voiceless. Voices which have been at best ignored and worst even muzzled, by legacy media over the years in their unending quest for TRPs, advertisements and proximity to power. Voices which have remained unheard. Voices that matter for the sake of equality. And who are these voiceless people? It’s the people in the margins, like extras in the dance of democracy. Allow us to explain.
It all begins with a human being’s ultimate quest for justice so that the powerful do not prey upon the weak. This gives birth to society and consequently to democracy. Now, democracy might not be perfect, but it’s the best we have got. So, how does democracy work? Democracy is a constant experiment that relies on its subjects to be involved. It demands that its subjects are informed, aware and engaged in its execution. Let me break it down a bit. Imagine a monarchy or a dictatorship. It does not matter what people know or think about state affairs. The prosperity or suffering of the realm depends entirely on the benevolence of their ruler. But in a democracy, people participate to decide policies that affect their lives. Since people decide policies made for people, theoretically it must in all cases serve their benefit. But, is it so the case often? Then how does democracy falter?
The entire idea is based on a single assumption. Collective wisdom is the best solution to all problems. But then, what happens when public opinion is moulded, manufactured and often propagandized? Vested interests jeopardize the equal distribution of resources, knowledge and information. People’s representatives tend to become people’s masters. Hunger for power leads to destabilizing every check and balance in the system. Legislative, execution and judiciary collude to rob even the last morsel from the poorest. That is where media can play its role in bringing back the stability through information and opinions.
But what happens, when even the media colludes with the same system and becomes an accomplice in the crime? Fake news, misinformation and propaganda to serve the people in power become the sole job of the media. When it creates a demigod of a demon and demonizes the distressed. When dummy enemies are created to distract from the real enemies. When it sides with the people in power shamelessly. When the media just becomes another advertiser for the government. At a time, when government policies determine the very existence of its citizens, it becomes even more imperative for the people to start participating in the process.
When the media is not doing its job, it is the citizens who must pitch in to do that. There has never been a greater need for Citizen Journalism in India than now. Voice of Margin wishes to provide that platform to people. If you have an issue, don’t wait for some messiah to voice it. Be your voice. Voice of Margin is a 360-degree platform. If you have something to say, author an article or a news report, make a video report, make a podcast, draw a cartoon, click a photograph, or any other medium. Give wings to your creativity. And most importantly, ‘Speak’ till you still have a voice. Every voice matters.
What We Do?
Voice of Margin (VOM) is a Media Literacy initiative. VOM as a start-up was conceptualized after a studied observation revealed how ground reporting was systematically forced into extinction and how the lack of it resulted in two very big problems for the media industry. The lack of field reporters on one hand created a gulf between the people at the margins and on the other created an environment where fake news, propaganda, misinformation and disinformation could travel unchecked.
A. Media Literacy Workshop
To tackle the prevailing media environment VOM came up with a two step intervention process wherein first we would train, sensitize and skill people through workshops and campaigns on how to consume media and later when people have acquired the necessary skills lead them to the world of citizen journalism wherein they would fill the void in ground reporting.
B. Citizen Journalism
Citizen Journalism is rooted in the concept of empowering users and restoring their agency so that once they become media literate they start raising their voice on their own, without the need for a spokesman and without any interference from the editorial room. Voice of Margin is a free to all 360-degree digital media platform where you register yourself with a simple authentication process and can author an article or a news report, make a video report, or a podcast, draw a cartoon, upload photo stories, or communicate your issues in any other medium of your choice.
C. Media Literacy Campaign
Alongwith workshop our another intervention in the field of media literacy is Campaigns for awareness, sensitization and countering rumours and propaganda. We identify contemporary issues that need media literacy for comprehension and based on the target audience we develop customized IEC materials which we deliver through a well designed campaign.
D. Communication Services to NGOs & CSOs
VOM believes in strengthening hands of people and organizations working in the social sector. We are committed to amplifying the work done by Non Government and Civil Society Organizations and extending technical, logistical and intellectual support to them across the country. In this segment we provide the following communication services that enhance the reach of our partner organizations.
We offer following Services under Communication Service Portfolio
• Social Media Content Creation
• Strategic Campaigns for social development
• Mainstream Media Relations
• Editorial Content Creation
• Designing collateral
• Special Events Coverage
Noor Fatima (Founder, Lead Communications and Operations)
Noor is the glue that binds this group together. It is her firm belief that every person has a story to tell and needs a platform to narrate, which gave birth to the idea called Voice of Margin. She has a master’s degree in Development Communication from AJK MCRC Jamia Millia Islamia. She has worked as a Communications Specialist at Rouge Communications, Delhi, Aangan Trust a child protection organization and has interned at Leading Media House. She manages the VOM communications, outreach and operations and keeps the wheels churning backed by young passionate Interns.
Asfia Kulsoom ( Editor, English)
Asfia did her graduation in Journalism & Mass Communication. She is deeply passionate about her field of work and a firm believer of everyone’s right to voice their opinion. She advocates the philosophy that, voice gives power and voice gives freedom. She has a natural talent for writing highly researched and elaborate articles.
Mallika Mehzabeen (Multi Media Content Creator)
Mallika is like the Swiss Army Knife of the team. A mass communication and journalism graduate who believes in writing her mind and heart with the help of words. She doubles as a video editor and content writer for videos.
Priyanka Saroha (Editor, Hindi)
Priyanka is from Sonipat Haryana and has done her graduation in Hindi literature from Delhi University. Along with this, she has served in NCC for 3 years. She is working as a Hindi writer with Voice of Margin.
Shahzeb Mohammed Danish (Contributing Editor – English)
Shahzeb is a consummate professional with a keen eye on media industry. He is one of the core team members of VoM and Lead Editor of English content. He doubles as an Earthquake Engineer and designs high rise buildings. He does photography as a hobby.
Hanzala Aman (Contributing Editor – Hindi)
Mr. Hanzala Aman is from Gaya, Bihar, having resided in other cities like New Delhi and Allahabad. He did his B. Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture from SHUATS between 2013 and 2017. Further he did M. Sc. Rural Technology and Development from the University of Allahabad which he finished in May 2019. He has been writing for many years. He is also associated with an NGO in his hometown where he is on the Board of Directors.
Arshe Alam (Contributing Lead – Digital Media Platform)
Arshe is an IT professional with decades of experience in the IT and Telecom industry. He has been involved in all stages of building a digital platform as a lead for several professional projects. He is a great proponent of Media Literacy and Citizen Journalism. He has a knack for critical thinking and problem solving. Apart from these, he has great people skills and manages the team. He is the go-to person for any issue. He is available whenever the team needs him.
Aariz Imam (Contributing Associate Editor- English)
Aariz is an impeccable writer with a keen eye on detail, rationality and research. He has been a contributing writer for Kashmir Monitor, The Rising Kashmir, Caravandaily, TwoCircles.net, Countercurrents.org, The Companion, Youth Ki Awaaz over the years. Often his articles are professionally researched, elaborate and hard hitting. He doubles as an Electrical Engineer and has a master’s degree in Business Management.
Shireen Anwar Hossain (Contributing – Graphics Designer)
Shireen is a creative person with a multitude of hobbies. She is responsible for all the beautiful graphic design work on the website. She is a cartoon enthusiast with an immaculate sense of humour. She doubles as an Architect, graduate from Aligarh Muslim University and has a master’s degree in Urban Design from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. She works in an MNC by the day and finds her niche in art after work.