Dialogues with print and electronic media were held in 7 districts- Panna, Tikamgarh, Morena, Datia, Gwalior Sidhi, Satna and Rewa. In all 129 journalists, 17 members of networks and 5 federation members participated. Agenda of the meetings was to discuss themes of the Sarojini Naidu Prize, share role of federation members in the SWEEP Campaign, implications of 50 % reservation for women in village councils and challenges of development journalism.
The journalists which included 8 bureau chiefs were given information about Sarojini Naidu Prize-2009 and oriented about the themes of education and health. Prize winning stories of past years were also shared. Media persons shared about the challenges they face during reporting on issues of development, and political interference. Federation members which included 2 office bearers of state level and 3 of block level federations interacted with the media and shared the challenges they face at various levels while working, as well as the personal and political transformation they went through leadership workshops, exposure visits, need based workshops and collective strength of elected women representatives. They also answered questions from the journalists related to corruption perpetrated by administrative machinery, monitoring of food security schemes, high percentage of migration among tribals and drought affected people of Tikamgarh and Panna districts, and poor status of health and anomalies in implementation of government schemes burning issue such as high malnutrition levels in their areas. The media dialogues were well reported in local newspapers and covered by news channels, state news channel and All India Radio.
Major outcomes of the meetings were:
– Future meetings planned for bringing along more representations of media in SWEEP campaign
– Perspective based and news-based reporting by journalists on positive work undertaken by EWRs and problems faced by them from different quarters
– More interactions planned between networks in respective regions and the local media
– Further planning required developing linkages between The Hunger Project in Madhya Pradesh, media and NGO to ensure that cases of discrepancies in electoral procedure, violence against women and reported and resolved in time.