The Amir of Bahawalpur, Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi, inaugurated the Rural Media Network Pakistan website in a simple ceremony held in the office of the daily Newspaper Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia at Kutchery road, Ahmadpur East on the 28th May 2006. Using a laptop he opened the web site mounted by the Chairman of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (Australia) Mr Pieter Wessels.
Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi inaugurating RMNP website
The Former Chairman of the Municipal Committee (Ahmedpur East) Mian Ilyas Ayaz , ex-councillor Syed Imtiaz Hussein Bukhari, leading social and political activist Syed Akbar Maqbool Zaidi, and local journalists were present. Addressing the RMNP web site launching ceremony Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi said that the greatest development for freedom of expression was the Internet. This was one medium with the promise of making Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality. The right to “hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers” seemed almost within reach of a rapidly increasing proportion of humanity. The Internet also has the potential of providing global reach to Third World media as publications in developing countries enter the era of electronic publishing and news dissemination through the Internet, he added. Nawab Abbasi observed that in Pakistan the greatest threats to freedom of expression occur in rural areas, where feudal and tribal lords and government functionaries can deliver brutal private punishment away from the glare of the national and international media, to any journalist who dares to report their misdeeds. The freedom of expression community was now using the potential of the Internet to promote free expression even in rural areas of developing countries. One such effort was the Commonwealth Journalists Association supported project to use Internet technology to promote the creation of a networks of freedom of expression monitors in rural areas of Pakistan. He hoped that RMNP website would highlight the social and economic issues and enhance local communities access to information. Earlier, the Convener Rural Media Network, Ehsan Ahmed Sehar, thanked the Chairman of the Commonwealth Journalists Association Australian branch, Mr Pieter Wessels, for creating the RMNP website http://online-rmnp.tripod.com. He said this website would update rural journalists about journalism training, resources, media laws and also expose freedom of expression violations in rural Pakistan. It would be available in both English and Urdu and play a leading role in the campaign against human rights abuses. Later participants viewed the RMNP website, postings about FOE newsletter Sadiq News, its links, home and news pages.