Uttar Pradesh Media Workshop on
Pro-poor Stand in WTO Agenda
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, December 8, 2005
Network of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (NEED), in collaboration with Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), Jaipur organised a day-long state-level media workshop at Hotel Gomti, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, during December 13-18, 2005.
More than 70 media persons belonging to different media houses at regional, state and national levels, including the electronic media like Aankhon Dekhi, Sahara Samay, Khas Khabrein, etc. and print media reporters from Daily, Vernacular, senior journalist of media, farmers’ unions, crafts producer groups, artisans, women panchayat pradhan (head of village council), rural women teachers, rural women self help groups (SHGs), rural village health guides and many others, were also present at the occasion. All of them actively participated in the workshop. Naveen Joshi, Resident Editor, Hindustan, Abhijit Das, Senior Representative, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Darshan Desai, Resident Editor, Indian Express, Ravi Krishna, Senior Correspondent, Times of India, Nirankar Singh, Freelance Journalist, Padman Singh, Additional Director General (ADG), Traffic Police and Vandana Singh, Social Scientist, were also present at the occasion.
Total persons attending the workshop including Media personnel’s – 90
No. of signatures collected from the media personnel for GRANITE Uttar Pradesh document – 68
The objective of the media workshop was to actively involve the media in disseminating comprehensive information and greater orientation on issues pertaining to agriculture, textile, services etc., particularly market access for the developing countries and least developing countries (LDCs) under globalisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime, so that the right information and knowledge about these issues could reach in the right perspective to the public at large, and thus, can have larger implications on their lives.
Naveen Joshi, the Resident Editor, Hindustan inaugurated the media workshop by lightening the lamp. Other dignitaries included Padman Singh, ADG, Traffic Police, UP; Vandana Singh, Social Scientist; and rural producers groups, including marginal farmers, craft women workers.
On the occasion, three books in Hindi were also released, which are:
- SHAKTI – The Power of Spirit, woven in hands, a revolution world wide while preserving a tradition;
- Pariwar Swasthya Pustika; and
Anil Kumar Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NEED stated that the intention behind the media groups’ active involvement is to act as a sounding board and disseminate the information at all nooks and corners of the state. The members of the group will share their ideas with each other and shall jointly function as an effective body for disseminating ideas and theories required essentially for the progress and to voice at International forum the benefits of marginal traders. This is with the view that the impact as well as benefits of WTO trickles to the marginalised level and response and demands of the common people emerge out.
Naveen Joshi, Resident Editor, Hindustan requested the entire media to shoulder the responsibilities together in order to take steps for poor so that they might access maximum profits, added to campaigning for poor people in order to provide them equal justice and opportunities at domestic and International Economy.
Padman Singh, Additional Director General (ADG), Traffic Police, on this promising event, put his views forth on key issues of Human rights and working conditions of the workers where as Vandana Singh, Social Scientist, emphasised more on service driven health inputs among women and children including nutrition from local natural resources.
Nirankar Singh, Freelance Journalist emphasised on the dualities of action, which is an ongoing trend in the current scenario like standardisation, through which profit is gained by developed nations. Quantitative restrictions and curbing of subsidies and its application had forced marginal producers shift in jobs. Shying of government from implementing pro-domestic industries policies, and if government is not paying attention it is the duty of the media to percolate awareness equally to policy makers and to the marginal grassroots.
Abhijit Das, Senior Representative, UNCTAD, India, New Delhi, was also there as resource speaker who shared his views on ‘India’s Stand on Agreement of Agriculture (AoA), Agreement of Textiles & Clothing (T&C) and Service sectors’ in upcoming WTO Agenda in Hong Kong.
Media personnel like Nufran Nasseen, Qaumi Khabrin, Ravi Krishna, Senior Correspondent, The Times of India, Lucknow, Bhavana, Dainik Jagran, etc. asked several queries like position of developing countries in subsidies, countervailing mechanisms, temporary movement of natural persons (MNPs), etc.
He clarified their doubts on developing nations positions on subsidies – Green box, amber Box, blue box and trade distorting, etc and other counter activities like anti-dumping, special products and safeguard mechanisms. He also emphasised on American union, European union (EU) and G-20 as well as G-33 role.
Satish Kumar, Jansatta, Delhi, asked about the role of WTO then Das replied that it is (WTO’s agreements) a dynamic stage, however, about impact and opportunities no one can claim anything. For instance, India argued on service sector involvement and is now one of the major beneficiaries of this.
Pre Panel Discussion About the Grassroots Experiences of Many Stakeholders
Grassroots Experiences and Trade Related Difficulties by the Village Invitees
Marginal producers and women weavers who came from interior villages of Uttar Pradesh expressed their difficulties and challenges of trade related to agriculture and textiles in this workshop.
Aasma Begum (craft worker) – difficulties due to lack of marketing avenues.
Suman (rural farmer) – difficulties faced in standardisation of products.
Manish (mango grower) – difficulties faced in packaging and value added products.
Depending upon the earlier grassroots experiences’ shared by the rural traders in the gathering, a panel discussion was held.
Darshan Desai: Resident Editor, Indian Express
Ravi Krishna, Senior Correspondent, The Times of India, Lucknow
Nirankar Singh, Freelance Journalist
Exclusive panel discussions were also held on the role and responsibilities of media in reaching to the masses on trade and economics including WTO agenda. Panel members included – experienced senior journalists from different media houses to think together and analyse the important support, which media personnel can extend in the development of rural and domestic economy. Panel members had also promised to voice for them so that the policy makers and Government will pay attention to their problem.
Anil K Singh, CEO, NEED
It is the unawareness among marginal producers, traders, weavers and media also, which had made this issue more complex. Upon these issues, NEED had planned to visit rural villages for capacity building, research and analyses on rural trade, economics, financial conditions including social issues of India so that all the stakeholders unite and directly pressurise the policy makers for their benefits.
Moreover, we should encourage them to participate directly in – trade, WTO policies, domestic policies, to ensure fair trade so that they get maximum profits, mainstream trade and directly do dialogue with the policy makers for their benefits from trade.
Shanu Somvanshi, Project coordinator, GRANITE, stated that the quality of the state’s agricultural produce is at par with that of the international produce. However, the state lacks in good quality infrastructural and marketing facilities.
Almost all the prominent media houses in the state had participated in the workshop and also given coverage to it in their prominent dailies. In fact, it is highly commendable to notice that Urdu news had also published the news and electronic media like – Aankhon Dekhi, Sahara Samay, Khas Khabrein, etc., had telecasted the clippings of the workshop in their channel news. Indian Express, Times of India and regional news paper resident editors and reporters had actively participated and in fact it was also decided that NEED with all the media team, (when they also shown their keen interest) that in the month of December all of them together shall visit to the rural villages and would do face to face talk, research and analyse the (marginal rural producers) position on trade, economics, financial and other social issues also.
Subsequently, it is in this endeavour that NEED had organised a media workshop so that media can also join hands and make efforts so that the common man is in a position to address the emerging challenges, issues and concerns of economic reforms and their wider impact in Uttar Pradesh, in the context of agriculture, textile and service sectors. NEED encouragingly visualises to create a future road map to work more closely with media houses and thereby enhance the capacity of media personnel on pro-poor stand in WTO Treaty.