Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focused on social impact, today launched a radio show, ‘Zindagi Mobile’, in partnership with one of India’s largest radio networks with 58 stations – BIG FM and renowned radio storyteller Neelesh Misra.
Through powerful storytelling, the show will aim to raise awareness around key aspects of engaging in the digital world: the benefits of technology, the risks it creates, recourse in the case of harms and the concept and importance of privacy.
Narrated by India’s favorite storyteller Neelesh Misra, each episode of the show will talk about themes that both empower as well as protect the ‘next half billion’ population from harms of technology. The episodes will cover topics like the importance of consent (e.g. the right to know what a company does with your phone number), the empowerment that technology provides (e.g. adopting new forms of payment), and measures for protection from harms (e.g. guarding against banking fraud).
The show will also seek to underline the value of as well as nuances around privacy. Aired over a period of 10 weeks with a weekly episode of 15 minutes at a primetime slot every Tuesday, each episode will rebroadcast thrice, at different time bands, to reach the widest possible audience. Each episode will be aired in five languages- Hindi, English Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil in relevant markets.
By 2022, half a billion Indians are expected to come online through their mobile phones. Despite being the driver of change for the next half billion (NHB), mobile phones also make these users vulnerable to financial fraud, identity theft and illegal usage of personal data among other things. With ‘Zindagi Mobile’, the creators will underline that privacy is an individual’s fundamental right while focusing on educating audiences about the two aspects of what constitutes Good Tech – using ‘Tech for Good’ and helping create ‘Responsible Tech’ that focuses on building tech that protects its audience from potential risks and harms.
Launch of #ZindagiMobile (from left to right): Roopa Kudva, Managing Director, Omidyar Network India, Shailesh Srivastava, Business Head, BIG FM, Neelesh Misra, Founder, Gaon Connection and Rohan Vyavaharkar, Director, Marketing and Communications, Omidyar Network India
Commenting on this first of its kind initiative by the firm, Rohan Vyavaharkar, Director, Marketing and Communication, Omidyar Network India said, “At Omidyar Network India, we believe technology must serve the society at the broadest level. As India’s “next half billion” comes online, this show seeks to inform, sensitize and help equip them to better understand how tech can help improve their lives, the vulnerabilities it creates and how to exercise their right to privacy. We believe this awareness building effort will contribute to helping them participate effectively in the digital economy.”
Commenting on the partnership, Neelesh Misra said “the digital surge has revolutionized our lives and connected us like never before – my parents don’t feel that far from their grandchildren now thanks to video calls – but there are things one has to be careful of. Digital means can also be used to harm or hassle others. Also, there is a huge issue of the Right to Privacy – a fundamental right – that we often don’t value enough it realize that it’s being violated every time we give away our phone number, our address, our email ID, and for the vulnerable millions, their ATM Pins. We need to raise awareness on this with millions of Indians. I am glad to be a part of a new show that brings to the fore and addresses a critical issue and will help us in raising awareness through strong and impactful storytelling. I don’t think anywhere in the world would audio storytelling have been used to raise awareness around privacy.”
After having worked on purpose-driven initiatives, Sunil Kumaran, Country Head – Product, Marketing and Thank BIG FM and speaks about the need for Zindagi Mobile in today’s world, “Staying true to our philosophy, ‘Change Starts With You’, BIG FM has been at the forefront in spearheading some of the most impactful and innovative purpose-driven initiatives. Our partnership with Omidyar Network India mirrors our philosophy and seeks to aid us in reaching out to a wider set of an audience while appraising them on the perils of technology. With more than 564 million of the Indian population expected to become Internet users by 2020, this conversation is the need of the hour and we are proud to host a show like Zindagi Mobile. Through the show, we seek to provide a platform that acts as a guiding light for billions of people in a bid to save them from falling into any tech trap.”
Omidyar Network India will also be studying the impact of these stories on its audience in a few markets and will be releasing its findings at the end of this season.