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Cheap smartphones, digital news and the world’s biggest election

Cheap smartphones, digital news and the world’s biggest election

Hasit Shah, Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation at Harvard & Senior Producer at BBC News in London

May 6th, 2014 at 12:30pm ET
Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor

On June 1, 2014 the world’s biggest democracy, India, will have a new government, after an enormous, complex election taking place over several weeks. This is probably the country’s first proper ‘digital’ election, with Internet-based campaigning and journalism coming to the fore. Those who are connected will see a very different election to those that have gone before.

However, we have to remember that even at the most optimistic estimates, no more than a sixth of Indians have access to the Internet. That’s a billion people who are being left behind. But smartphones are getting cheaper and mobile internet connections are becoming more easily available. The new Internet users will demand content that won’t be in English, that doesn’t necessarily demand high levels of literacy and works well on basic devices with erratic connections.

Hasit, a Nieman-Berkman Fellow at Harvard and Senior Producer for BBC News in London, is researching models for digital news designed for this type of user and will speak about his findings.

About Hasit

Hasit Shah is a senior producer at BBC News in London. He is a 2014 Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation at Harvard and he will study the rapid growth and development of digital media in India and its impact on journalism, society, popular culture, political discourse, the economy and public policy. He has worked in radio, TV and social media in the BBC newsroom and in foreign affairs, specializing in South Asia. He has covered major breaking news stories and events across the world, including the Mumbai attacks, riots in France, violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, the London bombings, regime change in Egypt and the earthquake in Japan.


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Past Event
May 6, 2014
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM