A global network of Dalit journalists from across the world was launched on the 25 April to address the need to ensure better representation of Dalit voices in the mediascapes of countries where caste discrimination occurs.

The International Dalit Journalist Network (IDJN) elected Rem Bishwokarma of IDSN member organisation, Jagaran Media Centre, as General Secretary.

“We will work towards including all the Dalit journalists who have been working actively in different parts of the globe,” said Mr. Bishwokarma.

“Caste-based discrimination and untouchability is not only the problem of Nepal. Such discrimination is rampant across different parts of the world. To end such problems, we have developed the international network of Dalit journalists.”

The first virtual gathering of the new global network has formed a 21-member executive committee to steer the common platform for all journalists around the world representing Dalit communities who face discrimination and exclusion in their societies.

“The concerns and agendas related to Dalits often don’t get adequate media attention. It is often felt that there is a sense of apathy regarding the issues of Dalit in the media. The media houses lack sensitivity regarding the issues of Dalit to such an extent that such issues are subdued by the editors and media houses,” said President of the IDJN, Mallepalli Laxmaian from India.

“The network aims at mainstreaming as well as amplifying the voice of the Dalit and other vulnerable communities in South Asia and beyond,” he said. “It will help create solidarity for national and international advocacy on the issues, agendas and concerns of Dalit and other marginalised communities.”

During the gathering several international intellectuals and rights activists including Prof Sukhadeo Thorat, Dr. Raj Shekhar Vundras (IAS), president of International Commission for Dalit Rights DB Sagar Bishwokarma, Vice-chair of Asian Dalit Rights Forum Durga Sob, acting president of NGO Federation of Nepal Bhakta Bishwokarma, Ananda Kumar, Binay Kumar, senior journalist of India Ram Chandra Murthi and IDSN Executive Director, Meena Varma, lauded the move of developing a common platform of all the Dalit journalists working around the world.

Members of the IDJN executive committee includes Sita BK, Bhim Ghimire, and Biru Nepali from Nepal, Aruna Athaluri, Indudara Honnapura, Praveen, Gopi and Rambabu from India, Purna Baraily and Deepak Pariyar from USA, Santosh BK from Canada, Chhatra Shankar from Australia, Subroto Haldar and Mousumi Das from Bangladesh, Sher Bahadur Pariyar from Poland, Prem Pariyar from Norway, Dinesh Goutam from Cyprus, Mahesh Khati from Denmark and Mahesh Waran from Sri Lanka.

Story sourced from Dignity Post – Nepal