Organisations say this method of communication is likely to continue even after lockdown ends.

Cultural organisations and NGOs are increasingly turning to webinars or online seminars to get their message across and the response so far has been positive, they said.

Bengaluru International Centre, which used to host events almost every day before the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, has launched BIC Podcasts and BIC Streams webinars, which are held twice a week.

“As a community space, our aim is to engage with people, and the times we are now living in have given rise to new ways of engagement,” said V. Ravichandar, Hon. Director, BIC. “Though they are not a replacement for a session in the physical space, these online initiatives are working well,” he said.

Aikyam Community for Sustainable Living has also been organising webinars on climate change and sustainable living. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a man-made disaster where viruses in wildlife jump to humans due to destruction of forests and the wild. There is an awareness of this aspect today that has created a keen interest in sustainable living practices,” said Sandeep Anirudhan, an activist from the city.

One advantage to online webinars is that they do away with physical boundaries. The Centre for Financial Accountability, Delhi has started a ‘Solidarity Series Webinar: Conversations during lockdown and beyond’, which has found a big following among the activists in the city.

“We used to only host lectures earlier. But the response to the webinar series has been overwhelming and we are able to reach a wider audience across the country,” said Gaurav Dwivedi, associate director, CFA.

The series that began on March 31 was expected to end by April 14, but has now been extended on popular demand.

Book Bramha, a book catalogue website for Kannada books, has begun a series where a short story writer reads one of his stories to the audience online every evening at 6.30 p.m. “We have had several noted writers like Amaresh Nagudoni read their work. Jayant Kaikini and Vasudhendra are also scheduled to read their stories,” said Devu Pattar, Executive Director, Book Brahma.

Given the success of webinars they are likely to stay even after the lockdown, activists say. In the cash-strapped environment that activists work in, webinars are friendlier on the pocket and the technology ensures that people watch the discussion later.

The article published in The Hindu can be accessed here.

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