In the third of its district level media trainings, a team from Women’s Feature Service, headed by its director, conducted a training workshop for the local media at Hamirpur, the district headquarters, on February 28, 2013.
About 25 persons attended the training with many prominent media houses, including the Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, and the Hindustan, being represented. There was a vibrant discussion on how the “real issues” of the people, fail to get the necessary attention of the media and what can be done to improve the situation. Water shortage was a major concern in the area – and nothing symbolised it more than the fact that the local woman’s college did not have a single drinking water source that was functioning. There was also the view that Hamirpur, as a district, has been discriminated against. Although the challenges were many, there was a desire among the younger generation of media professionals to understand local problems and focus on them in order to bring about social change. The activities of the sand mafia, which enjoyed the protection of powerful political players, and the impact unregulated sand mining was having on local rivers like the Betwa, came up for discussion. There was unanimous agreement that people’s resources like rivers needed the special protection of the entire community and the media has a important role to play as watchdog of the local community interests.