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Workshop for Committed Volunteer Journalists: Kisna Kistnasamy on nature of LALIT periodicals

03.06.2019

Kisna Kistnasamy gave an introductory talk on the history, structure and aims of LALIT’s periodicals, highlighting the difference between our magazine Revi LALIT and our newspaper Lagazet LALIT de Klas, on the one hand, and mainstream more commercial publications, on the other.


The talk launched the workshop for “committed volunteer journalists” organized by LALIT. It was held Saturday 1 June at the LALIT party headquarters, and twelve people participated. Before she began to speak, Kisna asked the young people participating if they could take notes, and then at the end of the talk, she allotted 5 minutes for each participant to write up a short article, as if for Revi LALIT or this website, based on her talk and the workshop itself. Kisna said that LALIT’s magazine and newspaper have no paid advertisements in them, so this gave LALIT’s publications an important independence from big private companies, which other publications rely on. And the publications are run by LALIT’s members and supporters through a network that does the three aspects of publication: writing articles, producing the magazine physically and then distributing it. The work is shared – without anyone being too important to do any of the work involved, or not important enough. The defining feature of the LALIT publications – their being in the Kreol language – is not in any way accidental. It is a conscious decision aimed specifically at opening up to everyone the chance to submit articles. This makes for a broad spectrum of contributors. The rest of the country’s periodicals are in English and French, thus restraining anyone who speaks the mother-tongue from contributing articles. This also opens up vast scope for articles on daily life, on work conditions, on struggles at the grassroots level, in co-operatives, associations and unions.


The Revi LALIT – our periodical – has had many incarnations over the 43 years of its existence., from November 1976 until today June 2019. The full collection of magazines and newspapers was on the table, and people in the workshop were invited to page through. The first series was cyclostyled on a hand-propelled duplicating machine, after being typed on stencils made of wax. Then there was a series of newspapers, with their own numbers, that came out first every fortnight, then weekly. After that there was the first “off-set printed” edition. Later there was a series, again with their own numbers, called News and Views, which had more English and French, and were often on specific subjects. One, for example was on the nation-wide uprising following  the death in detention of the musician, Kaya. And then from 1994 until today, 2019, there has been the Revi. A new development from 2004, was that the Revi LALIT, as well as being on paper, is on our website www.lalitmauritius.org.


The way we distribute our periodicals is also totally different from the commercial magazines and periodicals. It is via our own networks of activists who believe in the contents, and who recruit people to these ideas via distributing the publication. In the case of newspapers, they were sold mainly by crying out aloud in bus stations and on board stationery buses all over the country.


Participants then wrote up their articles in 5 minutes. Some then read their articles – which varied from analyses of what she had said to a more factual report. Discussion ensued.