Your right to know
A new voice for rural journalists
The Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) was established in 2004 and registered as a non-profit organization with the
object of assisting the development of independent rural media in Pakistan. This was to be done by conducting training programmes
for both male and female journalists, carrying out World Press Freedom Day and freedom of expression seminars, and campaigning
to defend and promote the freedom of press.
The RMNP regularly organizes training programmes and seminars in rural centres which address the issues facing the Pakistani
media. In particular RMNP has worked for the improvement of professional skills, and to raise rural journalists awareness
of professional, social, political, and human rights issues, including those related to the environment.
The RMNP collaborates with local press clubs and journalists unions and the Citizens Media Commission of Pakistan on the
national level. On the international level it has developed relations with UNESCO, the Commonwealth Journalists Association
CJA), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF),
and the International News Safety Institute (INSI).
In addition to capacity building the RMNP is committed to the promotion of the freedom of the press in rural Pakistan. RMNP
organises training programmes on basic skills, press freedom, investigative and election reporting, the rights of journalists
and journalists ethics. RMNP has played a leading role in promoting the use of the recently introduced access to information
laws and is lobbying for improvement of these laws. Urdu translations of these documents have been distributed by RMNP among
rural journalists in South Punjab.
RMNP is the only organization in rural Pakistan which celebrates World Press Freedom Day every year, and which publishes
an annual press freedom report. This year's report was published in and reported on by national and international media. In
2005 , 2006 and 2009 seminars on UNESCO's annual themes were organised. From 1999 to 2004 WPFD seminars were organised by
the National Press Union, with the colloboration of the rural Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia, now merged in RMNP.
RMNP is the only organisation in rural Pakistan which is keeping contact with the international press freedom organisations
to promote initiatives that stress the importance of press freedom for democracy and individual and collective liberties.
RMNP is active in reporting and publicising crimes against communication professionals in rural Pakistan, and elsewhere.
Freedom of Expression Monthly Newsletter Sadiq News
In 2005 RMNP published Pakistan's first Freedom of Expression newsletter which foreword was written by Mr Javed Jabbar former
Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting. It is a monthly published in the Urdu language, the main language used by
journalists in rural Pakistan.
Sadiq News was published with the technical assistance of UNESCO with a ceremony on 19th December 2005, and a seminar on
the Freedom of Expression Situation in Pakistan. The Minister of State for the Environment, Government of Pakistan, Malik
Mohd Amin Aslam Khan, MP Malik Farooq Azam, 250 journalists, representatives of civil society organizations and regional
heads of political parties attended. The first colour edition of FOE Newsletter Sadiq News was distributed among all participants
and a report of the launch was posted on the websites of the International Freedom Of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the International
Journalists Network (USA), the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), UNESCO, and several other media organizations.
So far RMNP has published 13 issues and distributed them free of cost to press clubs, rural journalists unions, and educational
institutions. But financial constraints means that since 2007 only one issue is produced each year, on the eve of World Press
Freedom Day (3rd May).
FOE Newsletter Sadiq News has become so popular in Pakistan that RMNP received many emails from urban Pakistan asking for
it to be published on the web in both Urdu and English, and asking for it distribution by mail. Rural journalists value it
so highly they have asked for it to be published fortnightly. RMNP on 26th April 2009 in a ceremony organised with the assistance
of UNESCO launched first monthly Online Udru edition of FOE Newsletter Sadiq News which is being distributed free of cost
to rural journalists in all the four provinces and Azad Kashmir.
World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) has provided the appropriate platform in rural Pakistan to strengthen networks, monitoring,
and the exchange of information and strategies on FOE. As a result of RMNP's efforts since 1999 four international organizations,
UNESCO, World Association of Newspapers (WAN) France, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) USA, and International Press
Institute (IPI) Austria recommended that RMNP be enrolled in the IFEX community. For the same reason the World Editors Forum
(WEF ) sponsored the editor of FOE Newsletter Sadiq News to its annual congress in Capetown, South Africa in June 2007. And
similarly the Commonwealth Journalists Association paid for the editor of the FOE Newsletter Sadiq News to attending its triennial
conference in Kuching, Malaysia October 2008.
RMNP mounted an international website http://online-rmnp.tripod.com/ in May 2006 with the assistance of the Australian chapter
of the Commonwealth Journalists Association.
The website was updated daily with news of events in the rural and metropolitan media of Pakistan, and of events organised
by RMNP. However the site is of only limited use to rural journalists in Pakistan because it is in English, not Urdu the language
of most rural journalists.
Now in July 2009, a Pakistani host launched RMNP new website in both Urdu and English languages. Rural journalists now
download monthly FOE Newsletter Sadiq News and read fresh media related material in their country language Urdu. This new
site provides an active link for interested mass media across Pakistan and abroad and also provides information on media defence
issues such as regular monitoring of the state of media to record the chronology of media violations, tracking progress on
media related court cases and legislation; and compiling an interactive directory of Pakistani journalists and media organisations.
Sadiq Press Freedom Award
With the support of the Emir of Bahawalpur RMNP has instituted an annual Sadiq Press Freedom Award to recognize courage and
professional commitment by journalists and media organizations in Pakistan. It also serves to focus national and international
attention on the state of FOP in rural Pakistan.
The amount of the annual award is Rs 5,000 which RMNP wants to raise to Rs 100,000.
In 2009 the Sadiq Press Freedom Award went to Mubarakpur journalist, Mazhar Rasheed (GEO TV, Jang), at the World Press Freedom
Day Seminar on 3rd May in Jinnah Hall, AhmedpurEast.
RMNP's objectives are firmly based on the concept of a pluralistic and independent media.
RMNP forsees a Pakistan where the media has the freedom and capacity to reflect the realities of society accurately and in
a manner that captivates the interest of its readers, listeners and viewers.
RMNP's mission is to establish a network of journalists to monitor and defend freedom of expression in Pakistan, to build
the capacity of rural journalists to report government and politics, and to provide a forum for debate.