GV Board Elections 2023 Volunteers’ Rep. Candidate: Subhashish Panigrahi

Subhashish Panigrahi. Photo from #HumansOfCommons by Sebastiaan Ter Burg (CC-BY 2.0).

Subhashish Panigrahi is a documentary filmmaker and an interdisciplinary multimedia researcher working across community, culture and the digital rights of marginalized groups. Subha has worked for over a decade in nonprofits that safeguard the open internet, including Wikimedia Foundation, Mozilla, Internet Society, and Centre for Internet and Society. He has built communities to develop Indian-language Wikipedias, mobilized Mozilla Campus Clubs for students across Asia, and led large-scale content donations by negotiating with government entities and publishers. Subha has created documentaries for National Geographic on some of the languages that are facing imminent danger of extinction. He is currently a Digital Identity Fellow at Yoti.

All candidates in the 2023 board elections have been asked to answer the set of questions listed below. Feel free to ask Subha additional questions in the comments area below this post!

What appeals to you most about the prospect of serving on the GV board?

The opportunity to represent GV and serve the GV community would be an accountability I’d be honored to take as it’d allow me to uphold the shared values in supporting citizen journalism and amplifying the news in regions with a repressed press.

What talents, skills, connections, and expertise can you offer Global Voices in your role as board representative?

I’ve volunteered for the last 17 years to grow an open and multilingual internet. My professional experience of over a decade is in a similar area with a focus on digital and other human rights. I have built long-term collaborations with several indigenous communities to work together for participatory multimedia and open tech development. I strongly believe that citizens have the power to assert democracy while using even the most basic technology available to them, and I persistently take action. I am deeply connected with digital rights, the open internet, open access, and open source communities worldwide, as an advocate and a practitioner. I strongly believe I’d be able to contribute meaningfully to shaping GV’s future role in a critical era of growing fear, authoritarian regimes, and a juggernaut of tech-backed misinformation.

As you look ahead to the next three years, what, in your opinion, should be GV’s overarching priorities as an organization?

We see the power concentration under the world’s most authoritative leaders and private corporations controlling most wealth. a) GV can co-lead an important movement to challenge these dynamics by centering journalism in the core of communities impacted the most and are stopped from participating in every step; b) multiple its reach by collaborating with noted global media and other platforms; and c) creating an avenue for building a new generation of journalists, equipped with digital and educational tools to protect themselves and the communities around.

What aspect of GV’s work interests you the most?

(a) Access-Participation-Representation: GV’s work in growing access through multilingual and citizenry-focused coverage, participation through long-term collaborations, and diverse representation are close to my heart as I’ve worked around those issue areas my whole life.

(b) Strong human rights focus: GV has always centered the news on people, especially the marginalized, irrespective of the region. While reflecting public opinions, GV authors and editorial staff have amplified the abuse of rights.

(c) Strategic expansion: In recent years, GV has deepened its digital rights work through Advox, analysis of local and diverse media through Civic Media Observatory, and language digital activism through Rising Voices, among others.

(d) Wider collaborations: Through its authors and otherwise, GV is very well connected with the media and activist networks worldwide, covering important events for a global audience who never otherwise read much about the majority world.

What would you like to get out of this board service experience, both professionally and personally?

My professional and personal goals are the same — collaboratively work with low-resource communities to strengthen access, participation, and representation so that they can assert their own rights. I plan to help GV broaden its network and coverage through my civil society associations and vice versa. I also plan to delve deeper into civil society’s role in democracy-making in the foreseeable future, which would both increase through and contribute to the board services.

How will you fit board service into your personal and other professional work commitments?

This was a question I asked, too, while being nominated. None is born with the best time management abilities, but like many others, I’ll adapt, reprioritize, and plan well so that all these responsibilities complement each other.

What methods would you use to engage and listen to the community in order to represent them effectively at board level?

Active participation in the GV community channels, most importantly, the internal channels, which are safe spaces for candid discussions, in addition to Community Council calls and the summary by the core team at a later stage, and other public channels. GV’s larger community is active on social media and also meets in person, which are all avenues to exchange ideas and learn from each other, and even collaborate for larger projects together.

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