Authors: Nareshchandra Rai
Since it emerged as a new phenomenon in media discourse, citizen journalism and its related terms have been defined predominantly from the perspective of western media culture whereby ordinary citizens also widely described by media scholars as citizen journalists produce news stories from their own perspectives. This paper aims to contribute to a critical research agenda for identifying the economics of citizen journalism in the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in South Asia. The paper argues that while citizen journalism in the West is discussed in terms of its coverage of crisis events, addressing the issues that are largely ignored by mainstream media and providing real-time images and accounts through informal networks, professional journalists in the SAARC countries view citizen journalism as an alternative way of expressing views that have been rejected by mainstream newspapers. As a result, citizen journalism has become a new platform where both the citizen and professional journalist not only discuss their common agenda but also raise their voice for social and political changes. Strict media control by the state, editorial censorship, diversities of population, and migration culture among desperate people for economic opportunities make citizen journalism in the SAARC countries all the more distinctive from elsewhere.
Keywords: citizen journalism, journalism, SAARC countries