RMNP-UNESCO Safety of Journalists Training Workshop April 13-15,2019

Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) have condemned the Fatwa issued by a member National Assembly (MP) on April 8,2019 promoting the killing of journalists in Pakistan and urged federal and KP governments to adopt necessary measures to guarantee the safety of journalists. Participants of the RMNP-UNESCO Safety of journalists training workshop expressed their grave concern regarding these threats against the journalists of Wana, South Waziristan and demanded of Jamaat-e-Islami leadership to take immediate notice and action against   these threats given by its senior member MNA Taj Muhammad Wazeer . They stated that according to reports, Taj Wazeer  announced the fatwa at the protest saying: “The media has not come to cover this protest because it is against of the government and the army. Snatch the cameras, mobiles and all other devices from them and declare jihad against them” He went on to say that he ordered journalists in Wana to be killed and that he would take responsibility for this action.


In an unanimous resolution, participants warned that JI leadership will be held responsible if any journalist is hurt or killed due to this Fatwa. They further   said that “this fatwa is an outrageous attack on the safety of Pakistan’s media and those working in the increasingly volatile area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. RMNP figures shows that Pakistan’s media remains under threat with journalists killed, abducted, assaulted and threatened all too often. But despite this difficult situation it has refused to bow down.

RMNP-UNESCO safety of journalists training workshop  held from April 13-15,2019  and it was attended by 12 male and 5 female contributors hailing from  Uch Sharif, Liaquatpur, Chani Goth,Rajarhu,Head Punjnad, ShahiWala, Sama Satta, Musafir Khana and other rural areas of South Punjab.

Safety guideline

Before start of the sessions of safety of journalists training workshop a Pre- Test was conducted and journalists were taken a five questions based test. The purpose is to inquire and assess the level of their capacity and capability. The participants were having practical experience from five to thirty years but they were not invited in   single safety related workshop before. The participants had also faced hostile environment many a times while performing their professional duties but they did not find any opportunity to learn the techniques to tackle the hostile situations amicably.

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During one session of the training workshop Mr. Noor Gill Officer from special wing of Punjab Police explained in detail the types of terrorist activities and explosive devices used in insurgency and terrorism. He also described the types of explosive materials and its general identification. A special lecture on Trauma was especially designed and the resource person explained the various types of symptoms of Trauma. The practical exercise and a demonstration were also conducted to get rid of Trauma while performing duty during hostile zone or trap in panic situation and precautionary measures were also taught to help out a person while suffering from Trauma.  The resource persons covered the topics such as the real threats for reporters; avoid possible danger; safety guidelines; writing a sensitive story; covering violent mob and agitation; contact and relations with sources; professional ethics; accurate and balanced reporting; risky information and cross check; reporting in high risk environment; pressure and threats; covering a bomb blast; first aid guidelines; stories that invoke violent reaction; covering religious congregations, digital security, stories about land and drug mafias, how to cover terrorist trial in court, reporting in areas under security administrative control  etc.

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Participants working on a sensitive story during a session of the safety training workshop

The Resource persons told them to be careful while covering sensitive issues. They should not file one sided stories and both parties of the dispute should be given chance to clarify their version. While covering extremists and militant group’s activities they should concentrate on facts and avoid sensationalizing the stories. Death accounts should be confirmed and verified by the relevant quarters. First aid and its techniques were also taught in detail. The TV channel correspondents keenly observed and learnt the techniques of camera work while covering mob and hostile zone as discussed by resource person.

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Male participants of safety training workshop group photo with chief guest Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi

Resource persons advised the participants to keep distance from religious groups and avoid mentioning speeches that generate hatred among different sects of Islam. While covering bomb blast incidents they should not rush to the spot without any precautions and take all necessary steps for their safety. Coverage should be done at certain distance and keep in touch with police and other law enforcement agencies. Casualties should be mentioned with utmost care and rumours should not be made part of the news.

The practical exercises regarding reporting on sensitive & conflicted issues and question answer sessions were also conducted after every lecture demonstration.

The training manual of regarding safety of the journalist published by RMNP and other relevant hand-outs and printed material   were also distributed among the participants.

Participants of the workshop filled up a questionnaire related to their professional work and safety issues and they expressed grave concern regarding their security and safety issues while performing their journalistic duties. All were facing same types of threats from religious extremist, local politicians, corrupt officials and criminals.

The 17 Journalists/Participants filled up personal evaluation forms regarding performance and evaluation of the trainers & resource persons of the training programme.

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Prince Bahawal Abbas Abbasi, Ehsan Ahmed Sehar, Nauman Masood Khan and others addressing certificates giving ceremony.

All the participants were fully satisfied and termed it encouraging for the grooming of rural  correspondents and demanded of more workshops may schedule in future. They paid esteemed satisfaction over the course work and presentations of the resource persons. They appreciated the role of RMNP and UNESCO to sensitize the issues of safety and security of the local journalists.

Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi giving certificates to the female participants of RMNP- UNESCO safety of journalists  training workshop.

The comprehensive post test has also been taken by the participants consisted upon the assessment of the three days training module. The assessment given by the resource persons after examining the post test was up to the mark and pretty good. The participants have been become able to secure their security in hostile environment. The 80% answers were related and conceptual to the theme of their security and safety issue which were discussed in the lectures of the experts.

Certificate giving ceremony was held on April 15, in which Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi was the chief guest. He appreciated UN and UNESCO for their efforts to ensure the safety of the journalists throughout the globe and urged Pakistani government for necessary legislation to provide safety cover to journalists. Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi said that Pakistan is signatory of the UN General Assembly resolution regarding the safety of journalists; hence Pakistani government should implement it with its true letter and spirit. He said that Pakistan government should fulfill its obligations regarding the safety of the journalists and stressed that there was a need for founding of an institution for training of journalist who report from the conflict zones. There were different kinds of conflict and journalists should be aware of the environment they are in, he said. President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar underlined the need to develop a code of conduct for journalists working in conflict zones, along with standardising the safety procedures that can help to survive in the conflict situation. Later on Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi distributed certificates among seventeen participants.

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Male participants of RMNP-UNESCO safety training workshop receiving  their certificates from Prince Bahawal Abbas Khan Abbasi






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