Journalists agents of social change: Maneka Gandhi

New Delhi : Describing journalists as agents of social change, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday said there is need to empower them with accurate and timely information.

“Journalists are agents of social change. There is need to empower the journalists with correct and timely information since they can become a big social multiplier,” she said after inaugurating the first-ever ‘All India Women Journalists Workshop’ here.

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The minister dubbed the workshop a “historic” step. It was organised by the ministry in association with the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Showcasing her ministry’s achievements during the last two years, Gandhi sought feedback and suggestions from participating journalists from across the country.

The participants included 250 representatives from the print, electronic and online media and from small and regional media organisations.

The minister highlighted major government initiatives like ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, Juvenile Justice Act, adoption reforms and CARINGS portal, 33 per cent reservation for women in police, new initiatives in Integrated Child Development Services, one-stop centres for women in distress, among others.

The discussion turned lively after journalists from the regional media brought to her attention many loopholes in the current system.

A scribe from Chhattisgarh raised the issue of death of two children in an anganwadi after consuming stale milk while another journalist rued lack of electricity in anganwadis in the tribal belt of Gujarat.

The participants also discussed issues relating to the implementation of adoption laws, child nutrition, women’s safety, sexual harassment at workplaces and ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme and gave suggestions for the national women’s policy.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman made a presentation in the second half of the workshop, highlighting the achievements and new initiatives of the government during the last two years.

An exhibition was also organised outside the venue to showcase the live monitoring of Child Helpline 1098 and district-level initiatives under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.