The Hindu’s Rural Affairs Editor and veteran journalist P. Sainath is all set to launch a new news portal focused on rural India called People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). The website is set for a formal launch on December 20 but already has an impressive amount of content on it.
Sainath speaking to Scroll.in said that he started the website largely with his savings, and that it contains thousands of photographs, videos, audio essays and textual reports on rural India and more will be uploaded on the site over time. Currently, the archive is volunteer driven and Sainath added that around 20 journalists traveled the country collecting stories on their own money. Sainath said that he had been working on the idea for an archive since 2011.
The site also includes a number of resources which includes full text reports and studies connected to rural India. The site will also include a number of articles already published and done exclusively for PARI. Other sections include talking albums (a photo gallery with commentary on the subjects), audio, video, and faces (a gallery dedicated to rural portraits of a men, women and children of a particular rural section of society).
The archive also seems to work on a donation model and invites contributions for videos, translations, photos, research, writing and editing, and money donations to back people’s projects on photo journalism among others. All content on PARI will be under the creative commons non-commercial licence.
Another section that the site dedicates is to teaching, students and researchers and aims to be a repository to access vital reports and studies from different sources. The archive also aims to set up open text books where students can participate in the creation of their own material. The site encourages students and teachers to create live material through field trips which can get them marks or grades in the course and be a part of a flexible open textbook.
Sainath added that the content on the site will be heavily curated but does not aim to be Wikipedia and anyone can contribute to the site as long as it is quality work.
Our take: The archive’s ideals of covering rural India is welcome and needed in a environment where the corporate media’s coverage on the same tends to be skewed. But as we previously stated there are concerns on how the funding of the platform as they will not accept any direct funding from the government or any corporate house. There is also the question on who will own the rights for the content uploaded on the platform and if the site opts for a paid subscription model, will there be a revenue share model in place with the site contributors.