For the first time in the 20 years of turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has reached out to the media and civil society in a big way.

The initiative coincided with the two-day All-India Editors’ Conference on Social and Infrastructure Issues, which concluded here on Wednesday.

Nearly three dozen journalists from all over the country attended the deliberations. The conference, opened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday, was addressed by Union Ministers P. Chidambaram, Farooq Abdullah, Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni.

Ms. Soni met representatives of the media and civil society to find out their difficulties. She held a meeting with representatives of the Kashmir Press Association. Ms. Soni said she would look into the issues facing the media. “I have heard them out and we will take steps to address their problems as soon as possible,” she told the conference.

KPA president Ghulam Hassan Kaloo termed the meeting fruitful. “She was very positive, and we are happy that the Minister gave us a room to put forth our problems,” he told The Hindu. “This is for the first time the Government of India has reached out to us through an institutionalised mechanism, and we hope to see good results,” he said.

“She gave us a patient hearing, and whatever we projected before her she assured that her Ministry will look at those issues,” said Aziz Hajini, president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the oldest and biggest federation of cultural and literary organisations. “In fact, she made a mention of those issues in her address to the conference.”

Javaid Rahi, national secretary of the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, too, hopes to get a better deal from the Ministry for the Gojri language.

The conference also seemed a huge success, as there was a large participation from the local media. “We are keen on expanding our activities in the State and will help the media in the State,” Neelam Kapoor, Principal Director-General of the Press Information Bureau, said.