Knight Fellow Shu Choudhary Named One of Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers”

Nov 172014
  • Knight Fellow Shubhranshu Choudhary (middle) trains villagers in rural India to use mobile phones to report on community issues

Foreign Policy magazine honored ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Shubhranshu Choudhary as a Global Thinker in its sixth annual “100 Leading Global Thinkers” issue. Choudhary is recognized for his work launching the mobile news platform CGNet Swara (Voice of Chhattisgarh) in India during his ICFJ fellowship.

Thanks to the platform, people in remote areas of India can now receive and share news.

Developed with help from Microsoft Research India, the system allows people to use mobile phones to send and listen to audio reports in their local language. Choudhary trained hundreds of citizen journalists to send in reports, which are verified by professional journalists.

Reports are then made public on the mobile phone platform, where the community can access them. Choudhary also posts the stories on a website, giving them a national and global reach that is making the voices and issues of villagers in secluded areas heard. Since 2010, officials have directly addressed at least 120 problems or complaints first reported by the service.

Foreign Policy praised Choudhary for launching CGNet Swara and “giving rural Indians a megaphone.”

The “100 Leading Global Thinkers” issue “celebrates those who have meaningfully contributed to improving our global community,” Foreign Policy said in a press release.

The honorees are split up into ten categories, based on their impact:

  • "The Decision Makers"
  • “The Challengers”
  • “The Naturals”
  • “The Innovators”
  • “The Advocates”
  • “The Chroniclers”
  • “The Healers”
  • “The Artists”
  • “The Moguls”
  • “The Agitators”

Choudhary was honored as one of “The Chroniclers,” who are celebrated as “masters of storytelling.” Other honorees in that category include political television personality John Oliver, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka and Indian news anchor Padmini Prakash.