I am a civil society leader, and my work has mostly been around communities, open tech, and media. Using non-fiction filmmaking, community-based research, and media archiving, I have documented the impact of technology on the lives of people and their response to the ever-changing geopolitics. Openness, a layer that binds open-source and licensing among others, plays a key role in my work.
I have held leadership positions at organizations such as Ashoka, Wikimedia, Mozilla, Internet Society, and the Centre for Internet and Society. I have been a 2017 National Geographic Explorer, a 2019 Digital Identity Fellow at Yoti, and a 2017 MJ Bear Fellow. I am one of the community representatives to the Global Voices Board.
Broadly, I have advocated and worked for open and secure tech for shifting the state of oppressed human languages and societies.
I have directed and produced ten non-fiction films, focusing mostly on language endangerment and digital rights issues (access, surveillance and openness). In 2017 I founded OpenSpeaks as a set of open educational resources for language documentation, winning a grant from the National Geographic Society. It helped me make three films, including Gyani Maiya (2019, 2023) which was inspired by a Global Voices story and captured the journey of the late Gyani Maiya Sen-Kusunda who was the second Kusunda-language speaker alive. My 2021 film MarginalizedAadhaar uncovered the impact of India's biometric ID Aadhaar on several marginalized groups.
Latest posts by Subhashish Panigrahi
How India's Ho- and Santali-language content creators are holding space for Indigenous linguistic assertion
A 2022 study conducted in Ho and Santali, Indigenous languages from India, found that 70.4 percent of creators use their smartphones to create and upload content, though monetizing remains a major challenge.
‘Third World’ and ‘Developing World’ not our chosen identity: Interview with photojournalist Shahidul Alam
"Stereotypes of my people as poor were created blindly by white Western photographers — we can't shift that unless storytellers change their stories." - Shahidul Alam
She "kept repeating that the young people were not interested in learning the language at all but she was ready to raise a generation of Kusundas speaking their mother tongue."
As VPNs and blockchain-based services are often designed to assure user anonymity and privacy, this direction might force many service providers to shut down operations in India.
Earth Defenders Toolkit launched to help communities navigate digital tools for defending environmental rights
Launched in July 2021, the toolkit aims to enable grassroots environmental protection communities to find and use the resources most helpful to them without seeding their dependence on external support.
Pegasus spyware revelation indicates Indian state snooping on journalists, activists and politicians
The Pegasus Project released a report detailing the potential hacking and surveillance of more than 1,000 activists, journalists and politicians from India using the Israeli-made spyware, Pegasus.
Twitter in India has found itself outside the “safe harbour” that otherwise would have protected itself legally from being implicated for the content generated by its users.
The explosive report by a Brussels-based Non-Governmental Organisation has unleashed a new war of narratives between India and Pakistan.
Indian type designer Sony Salma has recently created a new typeface for the Sorang Sompeng, an old and little-used alphabet of the Sora.
Machine translation is a powerful tool to grow a language's digital presence.
The world's largest biometric ID system was intended to provide a technological solution to socio-economic problems; instead, it has further ostracised marginal and vulnerable communities.
Language activists from the eastern Indian state of Odisha have recently published the very first online magazine in the Santali language.
The use of Aadhaar-based authentication makes exclusions more likely.
Along with six other indigenous languages in Taiwan, Sakizaya is classified as “critically endangered” by UNESCO.
A new online initiative called virALLanguages is helping speakers of indigenous, minority, endangered and other marginalized languages create informational videos on coronavirus in their own languages.
Global Voices interviewed rights lawyer Mishi Choudhary and tech and policy researcher Srinivas Kodali to discuss the newest proposal in India to use unique ID data for #FacialRecognition with drones.
"There isn’t enough information available on what data will be collected, how long will it be stored and what uses it will be put to."
#MarginalizedAadhaar: Is India's Aadhaar enabling more exclusion in social welfare for marginalized communities?
India's biometric-based digital ID Aadhaar seems to bring more exclusion to marginalized communities rather than solving it.
After a six-month-long internet shutdown, access to only 301 white-listed websites has been granted in Jammu and Kashmir, whereas social media, VPNs and many other sites remain banned.
"India leads the world in internet blackouts. We all know what fascist governments do in the dark. Don’t be a bystander; speak now & speak loudly."
Subhashish Panigrahi highlights the challenges and opportunities relating to access to public information for marginalized groups in India.