Namchi, 07 Dec [PIB]: Press Information Bureau conducted a workshop for journalists working in rural Sikkim at the South District Officers’ Club, Namchi, on 07 December.
The workshop, titled ‘Vartalap,’ was attended by correspondents active in South, West and some parts of East Sikkim associated with different media houses as well as freelancers.
A number of photo and video journalists, and social media bloggers also attended the workshop.
Namchi Municipal Council chairperson,Udai Chandra Rai, was present as the chief guest, accompanied by president,Press Club of Sikkim, Joseph Lepcha, as a special guest.
In her keynote address, Information Assistant,PIB, ShikhaBaraily, briefed the local journalists about the role and functions of the PIB. She also made a presentation on how social media has become an important tool for promotion and publicity of government schemes and policies as well as for journalists to effectively propagate information about those schemes.
In this connection, a power-point presentation packed with visuals and statistics was made to shed light on how Social Media Optimization (SMO) techniques can be used to make communication on social media more impactful.
SMO techniques such as analyzing of social behavior of audience, apt networking, use of audio visual tools for creative optimization, the importance of hashtags, key words, tips for ensuring optimum engagements on social media posts etc were also discussed.
The NMC chairperson, in turn, shared his experience of how the general public has started interacting with the authorities via social media.
He recalled instances when public aired their grievances about certain programs, policies and projects using social media and how the authorities solved those issues accordingly.
“Social media provides the most efficient platform for two-way communication between the public and policy makers without time constraints,” he pointed out.
Shovan Kumar Mitra of PIB briefed the participants on the provisions of the Central Government’s Journalists Welfare Scheme.
The briefing focused on the purpose of the scheme, eligibility criteria for availing the benefits of the scheme and the procedure for applying for the benefit.
Besides, the participants were also informed on the process of decision-making by a panel comprising officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PIB headquarters and non-official members and how emergency cases should ideally be dealt with.
Central government flagship scheme PradhanMantriFasalBimaYojna (PMFBY) was also discussed threadbare at the program. District Development Manager,TempaChoda Bhutia, NABARD was invited as a resource person to shed light on the essential aspects of the scheme.
PCS president,MrLepcha, underlined the need for establishing and maintaining credibility and went on to cite the need to break certain myths about rural reporting.
“Rural reporting is not just about covering certain events and incidences. A journalist active in rural areas should utilize her power by highlighting the problems being faced by the rural population as well as the shortcomings in welfare schemes and policies. Journalists are the torch bearers of truth and thus truth must be brought to the fore at any cost,” he stressed.
The NamchiCorrespondent of Sikkim Express, NamoDikshit, shared her experiences on the challenges faced by journalists in rural areas. Accessibility issues, including lack of motorable roads to certain areas, connectivity issues such as phone and internet accessibility challenges.
South District Correspondent,SamayDainik, RudaraKaushik, spoke on the ‘importance of development journalism in border areas.’
He observed, “Reporting from border areas is an extremely sensitive job and we need to focus our attention on national interest and objectivity.”
He suggested that journalists should keep in mind the sensitivity of the border areas and various state mechanisms operational in those areas, especially the security apparatus, while reporting from border areas.
Freelancer Sanjay Agarwal,active in Rangpo-East Sikkim,stressed the importance of lending due publicity to welfare schemes of the central and state governments. He exalted the role of journalists active in rural areas in educating the masses on their rights and benefits accorded by the state.