This year again, another star stud in our organisation. We received All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice Awards for Excellence in Parallel Media. They have awarded us as a media house with exclusive work towards new age journalism. I am honored and also my staff is equally feeling boosted with such appreciations. Big thanks to all our readers and well wishers for taking us to new heights.
It’s been five years of constant fight. Everything is fresh in my memory. The reason to start the endeavour, the reason to cope up with the trends, the challenges against the ethics, those threatening phone calls from the impotent and many other ways of spamming on social networks and you might know the famous blogs against me. There have been millions of incidents and many of them I don’t want to recall, which have tried to become hurdle in our way. We have skipped the hurdles and reached till here; the next step of ladder to success is still to arrive.
We are the only parallel media existing at the moment in India. Media being in corporate, mafia or politicians’ hands has lost its charm and its independence is fading away. India needs some independent media houses which can stand equivalent to such odds and do justice with fourth estate of democracy. Owner of media houses misuse the banners and use it for their own vested interest. We tried to set trends by setting up a self-funded media organisation with the help of working journalists. I thank God that He blessed me with a good team. My young team is not only dynamic but innovative also. I would like to specially mention Najmul Hasan Rizvi, who is ‘jaan’ (show figure) of this publication and really works hard at news desk being the chief here. Amit Jha, Malik Shaikh, Mohinder Giri are the other strong creative people who decorate the content and give it a shape. Aditi Taman, Rohini Joshi, Suraj Chandran and Lopamudra Ghosh are a bunch of strength for the publication in their respective capacity. How can I forget Dhawal Bhatt, who is responsible and makes sure the paper reaches you (readers) on time. He handles the entire circulation team. My cameramen Akshay Redij and Mrugesh Bandiwadekar and reporters are the people who are constantly on the field in search of news, so that you don’t miss any city events. I would like to express special thanks to all the team members of Newsmakers right from the peon to office assistant who has contributed to the success of Afternoon.
I should tell my readers the story of our struggle from year one, the first problems which we faced were related to finances. The lack of finances where one lady had to toss the gambling coin in the air, with a possibility of either getting it or losing it all and guess what, we had the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ soon followed. It was totally a game of guts that we did. So far, the media was always owned by the ‘rich’ or ‘capitalists’ who had their own backing and they rely on them. Thus, the basic idea of parallel media died and pseudo journalism flourished right from the early times. It was surely difficult for all of us to survive in the market.
The ‘pehchaan’ required from distributing the newspapers to holding up the cameras, it was a true challenge against the odds but the challenge was accepted and it had to be won, after all, my only house was on mortgage for the gamble. Soon after the first year passed, we tried to dive in the various fields and tried to explore the potential talents from various phases of life. One of which was hackers industry, which is just like underworld life. People are always hiding behind the scenes and we took up the challenge of exploring it, thus, our monthly niche Hacker5 was born.
Soon, our journey continued and year after year we finally completed three years. The honour of having a television media was about to succeed but, unfortunately, we again met the wrong people at the right time and right place. Though there was a slight setback but that was not enough to stop us. We have promised to go ahead and reach out to keep extending our own records, year after year.
In the year 2012, our award event was graced by his gracious Late Balasaheb Thackerayji; he honoured us and accepted the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from us. It was truly an honour to have been blessed by the person who was a living legend and there were times when he actually ruled the city. Soon, as he passed away, he even made a glorious journey to the afterlife. We thought of following his principles of being honest to the journalism, being unbiased and presenting the facts as it is, as much as possible, letting the masses judge us. There are people who have taken away powers from the people but we believe in giving power back to the people. Thus, we even came up with an idea of letting common man or the citizens of India to speak up and contribute news about anything and everything that they feel is happening with factual evidences, thus citizen journalism flourished. With power back to the people, it feels like to have accomplished a revolution. There were gimmicks of stopping us, various hurdles like income tax raid in our office, which made us wait for about three days and this happened thrice. We kept our word saying that we are honest but we let them do their work, peacefully. By now, even the income tax office must have our office address in their mind. The event of coming out clean from various challenges itself was the proof that we no need to show more proof of our honesty and dedication. Honesty comes with a huge price and we are constantly investing in it, without hesitation. Such things do not affect us anymore, which includes RTI for what we do.
The wise once said, if you speak a lie, you need to remember and be smarter but if you speak the truth, you just have to remember the event and leave the rest to God. With high regards to my readers who have kept us strong and high respect to people who have taken the time out and contributed in our journey, thanks is a small word for them. We have pulled our socks with this 5th year, soon to hit 1567 days of our glorious journey, we stand up with the pride of being what we are today and will continue carrying on with it. Many hurdles may come but we are committed to being… unstoppable.
I have groomed and mentored many young journalists in these five years, who can really bring change if they are allowed to do so. Newsmakers believe in being a parallel media as their counterparts are. The voices in the nation of capitalists are left unheard and ignored. We want to revolutionise the nation and make every citizen a revolutionary but, to clean the nation, we have to start from our houses. This is the idea which we put forward and we like to call it “Citizen Journalism”. People will talk about their locality; their problems even give solutions and if possible provide a recommended plan of action. Every citizen will have their own chance of being heard and being the newsmaker! You have to awake the corrupt with a jolt, we are the nudge and we will reach every individual. We all know the definition of democracy; however, we need to re-define it to them! This newspaper will always remain for the people as their own platform to raise their concerned voice.