Ethical media practices have constantly engaged with creating more space for under-privileged, and under-represented voices. With the advent of the pandemic, social distancing, and the necessary isolation of quarantines and containment zones, representing and communicating the common man’s woes and perspective has become a daunting, but doubly urgent,task. This is especially exacerbated when those in power take advantage of the isolation and lack of mobility to enforce arbitrary laws and edicts that further isolate and disenfranchise the marginalised. Activist organisations have had to innovate in a hurry. How do we create a people’s movement when movement and people are restricted more ever before?
Pedestrian Pictures, Bangalore, has been doing stellar work in this context. Covid 19, notwithstanding, this media activist organisation has been actively generating footfall and awareness regarding current socio-political concerns, with a special focus on the plight of migrant workers, the arrests of student activists and intellectuals under the notorious UAPA. Established in 2001, Pedestrian Pictures is a Bangalore based media activism outfit that works across the country to bring stories that have been elbowed out by the mainstream to centre stage. Pedestrian Pictures works as a collective where individuals from multiple backgrounds and disciplines pool their skills to strengthen ongoing struggles against unjust practices. This multi-disciplinary vibe is reflected in the films created by pedestrian pictures which cover a wide spectrum of issues ranging from caste-based discrimination, to gender politics, to communalism, to land rights, to citizenship. January 2020 saw Pedestrian Pictures deep in the fray of the anti-CAA protests, actively documenting State aggression and the people’s voices. With the Corona crisis, the window of opportunity for shock and awe activism was greatly minimised, and several movements had to suspend their protests out of sheer necessity. But the organisation rallied its resources by rebooting its activism on the online platform.
In the past two months Pedestrian Pictures has been organising multiple screenings, and collaborations with film-makers, facilitating discussions, and creating new content to engage an awakening online audience. Pedestrian Pictures has collaborated with organisations like Maruppakkam, Suchitra, and Vikalp to curate and organise online film festivals, showcasing home grown filmmakers and documentaries that speak to the need of the hour.
Earlier in the year, they also put out short clips on the arrests of activists and intellectuals in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case and the anti-CAA protests, furthering the cause and appe aling to an audience that is primed for a headlines version of the truth
With the 73rd anniversary of Indian independence around the corner, we feel that it is important to look back and reflect on the happenings in the country under the right-wing regime led by PM Narendra Modi. The pandemic has caused widespread distress, loss of life, and livelihood leaving the country in ruins. The Modi government though has found this an opportune moment to send activists, scholars, academicians, and students to prison using the UAPA. It has weaponised UAPA to delegitimise and criminalise ideologies that are critical of it. And the recent arrests of Anand Teltumbde, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu among others who were booked under the UAPA, need to be seen as death sentences, given the pandemic.
It is in this context that Pedestrian Pictures, in association with Countercurrents.org has decided to organize a screening of the film ‘Fabricated’, directed by K.P Sasi followed by a webinar titled ‘Reclaiming freedom of speech and liberty in the times of intensified state aggression and repression’- For the details of the film and the screening link , please follow https://rb.gy/sckbcv
Webinar: Reclaiming Freedom of Speech and Liberty in Times of Intensified State Aggression and Repression -16th August 2020, 5 pm . Please register https://rb.gy/qdsjju