Only when the cost of access to information is minimal in a country can it give way to diverse and vibrant voices of the citizenry. Yet, in many parts of the world, structural inequalities, opaque rules, lack of infrastructure and resistance from authorities stand in the way. To understand this systemic failure, it is important to break it down to a few key questions: Who seeks information? Who is denied information? Which information is hidden or does not exist? How costly and easy is the access?

As we observe the International Day for Universal Access to Information on September 28, it is important to acknowledge and learn from those who address these questions on a daily basis. To mark this day, Meedan is hosting an online event that brings together three innovative and independent newsrooms that are led by women, are editorially independent and are uncovering stories of public interest and importance in the emerging economies of Brazil, Egypt and India.

The ability to scrutinise, hold power to account and provide a platform for debate are roles that a free press and independent media can perform. Yet, governments in several countries are stifling criticism by attacking independent media organisations. These entities and media persons associated with them are at constant risk of being persecuted for their reporting, harassed for holding power to account and being starved of financial support.

In this context, we take a look at how Al-Manassa (Egypt), Fiquem Sabendo (Brazil) and Khabar Lahariya (India), three independent media organisations are able to:

  • ensure independence, plurality and diversity in their newsrooms while working in regions and contexts that are challenging
  • build trust with audiences and innovate constantly
  • provide access to information for hard to reach communities
  • bring a feminist voice and perspective to media content

Join us in a conversation with the women who lead these organisations — Nora Younis, Maria Vitoria Ramos and Disha Mullick — on September 28, 2020.

About the Speakers

Disha Mullick is the CEO of Chambal Media, a company that produces media for rural audiences, with a unique rural feminist voice. Chambal Media runs the iconic news brand, Khabar Lahariya, where women from remote villages of north India are trained to be professional journalists and produce local news in their languages, from their unique perspective.

Maria Vitória Ramos is the co-founder and CEO of Fiquem Sabendo, a media startup in Brazil keeping the powerful accountable. She was a reporter for Ponte Jornalismo, exposing violations of Human Rights by the police and armed forces in Brazil and is the author of "Indigentes: the State that buries without warning", an investigative book that exposes the heartbreaking system that keeps families looking for supposedly missing people for years when they have been buried by the Brazilian government.

Nora Younis is the founder and chief editor of Al-Manassa, a news outlet in Egypt. A rights advocate and journalist, Younis has also worked as managing editor at Al-Masry Al-Youm, a popular news daily in Egypt. Recently Younis was at the receiving end of the government clamping down on news organizations and was detained in the name of running a news website without an operating license.

This event is part of the Check Global Network’s series ‘Women, Media and the Pandemic’. Launched on May 5, 2020, Check Global Network members are currently located in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Western Sahara, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mexico. As a community of independent media, technology and human rights groups, the Check Global Network plans to meet regularly to discuss solutions to challenges, to design collaborative projects and to respond proactively to the needs of partners in emerging economies.

For more information about joining the network, please write to us at with a statement of interest.