Bhopal, Feb 17: Blogs are fast catching on in Madhya Pradesh where it provides a platform to activists and officials to voice concern on social issues like safe motherhood and children's plight.
Among the blogs - a user-generated website as is commonly known - is www.safemotherhood. blogspot. com. Managed by 'Campaign to Raise Concern on Maternal Deaths' in the state, it has activists working to help mothers.
There are other blogs too like newswhichmatter. blogspot.com, which has news about the state and opinions of people, and mpchildinfo.blogspot.com, which deals with infant mortality and low nutrition levels among children. Another blog is madhyapradesh.blogspot.com, which provides news and views on matters concerning the state. The safemotherhood. blogspot. com brings together media reports on maternal mortality in the state.
Maternal mortality at 498 per every 1,000 women is one of state's biggest blights. Most of the deaths occur due to pregnancy-related complications within a fortnight of delivery. 'To raise concern about and bring visibility to the issue of maternal deaths and factors impacting it, the safe motherhood Blog helps to bring out issues at the district level that rarely find a place in the state level media,' said Anil Gulati, a blogger.
The blog, he said, translates the Hindi news into English or adapts it from Hindi and reproduces it on its weblog along with its source. Many a time these news stories from district editions can form a story for the state editions or alternatively can be a pitch for the big story, which also adds to the purpose of the blog, he said.
Blogs also help to give expression to one's creative challenge, added Gulati, who has come to be regarded as blogman of Bhopal. He is a regular contributor to some of the blogs. 'Some blogs have been able to raise concern on issues like maternal and child deaths in Madhya Pradesh,' said Sachin Jain, who heads a media advocacy group, Vikas Samvad, in Bhopal.
For him it is a good advocacy tool. 'Blogs also take up issues which would have remained invisible otherwise. They help to bring the plight of people of the 'other India' into focus,' he claimed.
Blogs and citizen journalists are part of newer trends in engaging people and making their voices heard. But do they make any difference? 'They may not be too effective today but they have the potential to complement other forms of journalism one day,' said PP Singh of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism.
'These new technology tools can play a major role in reaching out to people with more transparency as they are not bound by present day media constraints, and thus serve the purpose more effectively,' he added. Other blogs that have become popular in a short time are bhopal.blogspot.com and bhopal. wordpress.com. There is also a Persecution Blog, which shares news and information about the Christian community.