When I first heard of Lokmanch.com earlier this year, I was intrigued.
“Lokmanch”(“People’s Platform” in Hindi) is an independent Hindi news aggregator site operating out of India. About three months ago, I got in touch with the two founders and was impressed by their enthusiasm, passion and obvious love for the business.
Although their position on (and perception of) “Globalization” is very different from my own take on it…I could not help admire the amount of work and energy that they had put in this effort. As it happened. I had the chance to meet with them a few weeks after the first conversation…and I came away from the meeting hooked!
Lokmanch’s vision is simple yet powerful – to make news and content available easily and freely in languages other than English and to be an alternative to current mainstream (English) media in India.
I would like to extend this idea a little further…and this is the dream – to make information/content available to anyone, anywhere and anytime, freely…In the context of India, other than the obvious difficulties in “anywhere” and “anytime”, you also face the challenge of “anyone” since a large number of people do not speak English* – hence the appeal of non-English online news aggregator(s) like Lokmanch. This is what I would call “Democratizing Content“.
I am excited by this and will be watching them closely…and I wonder if there is any similar site (independently aggregating regional, local news content) catering to the Chinese speaking population?
* Although by 2010, India will have the world’s largest number of English speakers and as Prof. David Crystal has memorably noted elsewhere, “When 300 million Indians speak a word in a certain way, that will be the way to speak it.”!