Basic Journalism Training Workshop May 3-4-5, 2012 Ahmedpur East District Bahawalpur

AhmedpurEast.May 5 (2012) Two Press Freedom Monitoring Committees (PFMC) were formed for the towns of  Chani Goth and Mubarakpur before the closing session of  three day training workshop on Basic Journalism in Ahmedpur East, District Bahawalpur, organized by the Rural Media Network Pakistan in collaboration with Unesco.


Shahid Bashir was unanimously elected as convener of the committee for Chani Goth while Fahim Akhtar, Tariq Abbasi and Abdul Hafeez were opted as member.

For Mubarakpur, Mazhar Rasheed was elected convener while Asif Shehzad, Mubashar Shah, Rao Muhammad Farooq and Kashif Mehmood were elected as member of the PFMC.

The committees will monitor press freedom violations in their area. If a violation takes place they will immediately alert the Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) and call urgent meeting to investigate the facts. The meeting after discussing the situation will prepare a comprehensive report to place before the RMNP for further action.


Ehsan Ahmed Sehar, President RMNP addressing the participants stressed the need to protect media freedom at any cost. If a fellow newsman is assaulted, threatened, harassed or humiliated this information should be conveyed immediately to RMNP. This is responsibility of Press Freedom Monitoring Committee which should never ignore and take it as a serious problem. Resource persons also spoke and briefed the journalists how to monitor press freedom violations and how to design action alerts?

Many participants said that police and government officials not the intelligence agencies intimidate journalists directly or indirectly if stories are published or broadcast which they consider uncomfortable for establishment. Influential segments of society also threaten if their interest is put on stake due to coverage of various issues.

Chohan, one of the participants said ‘a man was murdered in his small town. Family of the deceased filed the FIR (First Information Report) in the local police station which hide basic facts and bribed the police to investigate in wrong direction’. Chohan said, he investigated the case at his own and came to the conclusion that some members of the family were involved in this murder. He filed the story and when factual position came in light he was threatened by the family. This matter was reported to the RMNP which took immediate action.


Another participant Zahid Gull said, a child was killed in a road accident. The vehicle which hit the boy belonged to an advisor to the Chief Minister of Punjab province. Provincial officials advised not to mention identity of the vehicle. He filed the story with all the facts, Next day a high up of the govt threatened him with dire consequences.

A local journalist Azhar Danish who also runs a Pharmacy in Uch town said, in 2010 floods 16 small dwellings in Uch Sharif town swept away with flood tides. District Coordinating Officer (DCO) and Commissioner of the area continuously denied the floods. When the local population protested against the official denials and appealed the NGOs for help, he filed this story. A health official met him next day and threatened to cancel the license of his medical store.

Asif Mehmood a reporter for national language daily from Mubarakpur told the participants that he had investigated embezzlement of millions of rupees in local Rural Health Complex in which two doctors were involved. After publishing the news Mehmood was assaulted by some unknown persons. He got serious injuries on his face. He lodged FIR with local police and held responsible both the doctors for this assault. Police collaborating with accused declared them innocent and filed weak prosecution documents in trial court. Insufficient evidence compelled the court to set free the accused. Later, a revision appeal was not maintained in higher court on technical grounds.

Total 20 journalists including 3 students of Mass Communication Department from Bahawalpur Islamia University (IUB) attended the workshop, excluding two other participants had never attended any training course before.

Resource person Wusat Ullah Khan from BBC delivered a detailed lecture about interviewing, covering press conference and disaster reporting.

He told them to be careful during interviews with high profile political figures. First question should be very strong. They should prepare their questions well before the appointment and have a clear target about the information they want to get through the meeting. A journalist must have vast information about the personality whom he is going to interview. During press conference, media correspondents should first listen with the statement patiently and then prepare themselves for questions. Repeating same questions again and again is a bad habit. Questions should be concise, to the point, short and clear. You must have two recording devices as one can develop fault when you start your job. If you do not have the other one, for get about your assignment. Do not trust only on recording, take notes also to make sure you are safe when you go back to office and start writing the story.MayD

He also told the participants while covering flood like disasters never ignore the aspect of helping the people who are in distress and can not leave their place. They should be in regular contact with NGOs and other rescue teams working in the affected areas to inform them about the families who need help.

Resource person Khalid Saeed from Mediators delivered his lecture about news writing. He told them how they can start their story with a powerful intro and what aspects they should have in their mind. The inverted pyramid is the model for news writing. Heaviest or most important information should be at top and least important information should go at the bottom gradually. He said, journalists use five “Ws” and one “H”, Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. If a reporter covers five Ws and one H, the intro of his story will be perfect. Practical exercises were also conducted during the workshop.

Central Additional Secretary General Bahawalpur National Awami Party (BNAP) &  Ex-Leader of Opposition in District Council Bahawalpur Mian Rafatur Rehman Rehmani was the chief guest in the certificate giving ceremony who gave certificates to twenty participants,Hafiz Mohd Ejaz  Baloch, Mohd Siddique Asim,Asif Mehmood Chaudhry,Syed Asif Shahzad,Abdul Hafeez Faheem ,Mohd Imran Bashir,Mohd Ishfaq Sandha,Mohd Asif Ch, M.ShahidAli,Azhar Danish,Qalandar Hussein Syed, Jan Mohd Chuhan,Mohd Kashif Lashari, Hassan Mehmood, Zahid Gull, Shabbir Ahmed Qureshi M.Sajid Durrani,Mubashar Hassan Syed,Syed Ishrat Abbas and Nouman Ashfaq.



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