SAHIWAL: People living in the rural areas of the country are playing a vital role in the national development but they are facing the feelings of deprivation and isolation. The local and regional media are passing through a great crisis while the rural journalists and correspondents are neither facilitated by the government nor supported by their media organizations. Rural areas play a pivotal role in a country’s economy. Especially the biggest profession of a country like Pakistan is agriculture which is totally based in rural areas
Pakistan rural areas attract media coverage mainly during disaster situation like floods and earthquakes. Pakistani media is even biased towards the coverage of rural women and they depict men in strong key roles and depict rural women as dependent on men.
All of the prominent and mainstream media organizations, whether print or electronic, are based in big cities of the country where they have employed a reasonable number of journalists, both reporters and editors, for their round the clock news bulletins and periodic publications especially daily newspapers. But these full time urban based journalists can hardly cover the events and issues taking place in their residential cities. They cannot report the events happening in the rural areas especially the far away areas of the country. Therefore, the media organizations have to depend on their correspondents living in the towns and villages of the all four provinces and other areas like tribal areas and northern areas of the country. A study says.
The journalists living in the rural areas of the country can play an important role in the media industry If the organization give them proper recognition and due respect. Punjab is a province with agricultural areas and small town and villages, but the count of rural journalists in mainstream media is less.
Digital and citizen journalism has created spaces for rural journalists to generate their focused content based on their local areas, but question arise whether they are capable to hold this big responsibility?
“Center news was a project to create a professional space for district base journalist as I was aimed to highlight the ignored or untold stories of this small district face many difficulties because we do not have professional journalists here and even capacity building trainings are the need of time. Ehsan Ullah idress Executive head of center news told.
“Journalists organizations and non-profile media organizations also ignored these areas and even they do not run any awareness campaigns for rural base journalists” he further added.
The Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) is a rural-based national level, not-for-profit, independent media organization established in 2004 with the object of assisting the development of independent rural media in Pakistan. This was to be done by conducting training programs for both male and female journalists. The RMNP regularly organizes training programs and seminars in rural and semi-urban centers which address the issues facing the Pakistani media. Ehsaan Ahmad khan Sahar told.
RMNP trained more than two thousand male and female journalists including 68 students of Media Studies Department Islamia University Bahawalpur by implementing 23 projects during last 16 years. These training sessions were held on safety, basic journalism, online journalism, climate change awareness building and freedom of expression issues. He further added
Working for a rural newspaper is a really difficult job. The owners of rural newspapers tell the journalists, that there is no salary, but that they can make money by selling advertising Many rural journalists work part-time for a local paper or they freelance and provide local news for a larger urban or national media. Besides poor financial conditions these journalists also lack backing for their safety concerns and support in legal matters and insurance. Journalist’s training varies greatly. Some local journalists have no education or training at all. Many came from low-paid jobs as for example school teachers. Journalists who are able to write and speak English are more likely to make a decent salary. A job with the urban elitist media is considering favorable if you are print journalist.
Pakistan Press Foundation announce different capacity building workshops for journalists and prefer rural journalists and female but unfortunately these professionals do not have access to the relevant information. Our local press clubs are not connected with the press clubs and DGPR officials directly to build a support system for rural journalists. Connectivity is the essential need to help rural journalists.