Volume 3 Issue 12 - June 15, 2005

Pioneering news service on India’s disability sector holds annual review meeting

DNIS News Network - Disability News and Information Service (D.N.I.S.), a fortnightly online news service on the Indian disability sector, held a daylong annual review meeting on 3 June to brainstorm with disability activists, from across the country, on ways and means to improve so as to make it the best national news service on disability.

Rama Chari addressing D.N.I.S. Anual Review Meeting

D.N.I.S. came out with the first issue on 1 September 2003, after two-years of gestation and planning and initial teething problems. The service has now established itself as a credible source and tool for advocacy and intervention among stakeholders, activists and persons with disabilities.

But as it came to the fore, during the review meeting, despite the fact that some milestones have been reaced, the grand vision of turning it into a national news agency will need both time and a high degree of cooperation within the disability sector. The stated goals of D.N.I.S. are that of providing right information to the right people at the right time, to facilitate a positive action and setting a national agenda for participation of persons with disability in nation building.

Rama Chari, N.C.P.E.D.Ps Senior Programme Officer, set the ball rolling for discussion with representatives from across the country. She underlined the thumb rule of advocacy that Information is a powerful tool and it can lead to self-advocacy and empowerment, if used effectively.

After this Anjali Sengupta, Advisor D.N.I.S, and Chitra .S. Shankar, Editor, DNIS, made a power-point presentation on progress and challenges of D.N.I.S. The presentation was aimed at equipping the participants with figures on the readership and usage pattern as well as areas that have been identified as challenges. Following the presentation, the review and consultative meeting was opened for discussion on content, coverage, quality and the long-term sustainability of the service.

One major issue that came up during Open House discussion, facilitated by Salil Charturvedi, Consultant D.N.I.S.,, was of enhancing the readership and free subscription of the service. The section focused on action plan and strategy to improve the quality, coverage, reach and sustainability of the service.

Javed Abidi, Executive Director, N.C.P.E.D.P., stressed that the time was right to expand the coverage of the news service at the national level. Unfortunately the content is largely Delhi centric and the partners needed to provide greater inputs by way of news and story contributions, he added.

The participants almost unanimously suggested a long-term goal of making the service multi-lingual to increase its reach at the grassroots level. To this suggestion the DNIS team suggested taking up dissemination of printed copies of the fortnightly issue, and translation by regional and local stakeholders. Chennai-based Vidya Sagar is already following this process successfully.

The participants also shared innovative means of popularising the service, ranging from placing a link on partner websites to printing of ads on bank invoices.

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Disability News and Information Service is produced and managed by:

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