Commonwealth Journalists Association 8th Conference concludes in Kuching Malaysia President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar presented Pakistan media situation report

Kuching (Malaysia)October 18, 2008: Commonwealth Journalists Association 8th Conference News Targets for Today, Better Environment and a better democracy ended in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on 18th October in which as many as 100 delegates participated. The Conference was inaugurated on 14th October in Crowne Plaza Riverside Hotel and ended on 18th October 2008 with sixteen sessions held. Seventy delegates from 53 Commonwealth countries had arrived in Malaysia to attend the conference including three Pakistani journalists – Ehsan Ahmed Sehar the President Rural Media Network Pakistan, Ms Fauzia Shaheen Chairperson Women Media Centre Karachi, and S.M. Fazal Editor Daily News Karachi. Thirty delegates from the host country Malaysia also participated in this conference. A welcome reception was held on Monday October 13, at the Holiday Inn Kuching, where the Deputy Chief Minister Sarawak inaugurated the conference on 14th October at 10.40 am. The President of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, Hassan Shahriar, delivered a welcome speech in the opening session while the Director Communication Division Commonwealth Secretariat London, Mr Eduardo del Buey, introduced a video message from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma. The Founder of the CJA Derek Ingram, the Executive Director Bryan Cantley, President Hassan Shahriar, and former President Murray Burt, President CJA Canada Branch Chris Cobb and President CJA Australia Branch Pieter Wessels with the support of CJA Sarawak Branch and AZAM Sarawak had finalised the arrangements for the conference. The Director of the Commonwealth Foundation Dr Mark Collins, the Director of the Communication & Public Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat Eduardo del Buey along with senior journalists, media experts and other media leaders were included as panellists. The topics included The Commonwealth’s weak image: How to kill the apathy; the Commonwealth Foundation: Its mandate and its work; The Malaysian, South and South East Asian Media in the 21st century; Best Practices in Asian Journalism; Changing the international architecture: the Commonwealth role; The climate change controversy: Role of Media around the world; The Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan; The political crunch in South Africa 2009; South African elections and the regional impact of the Zimbabwe crisis; Just how frail is democracy; The internet: How to take advantage of all the new opportunities; Building the CJA and Going Forward, Pressures on the media and the CJA training programme and its future came under discussion. The President Rural Media Network Pakistan Ehsan Ahmed Sehar highlighted the press freedom situation in Pakistan and told the participants that the situation was better after the taking of power by a civial government. Amendment made in PEMRA ordinance has been withdrawn and independent tv channels have been re-allowed to telecast live talk shows. However he termed the situation in Balochistan and tribal areas as dangerous for working journalists. He spoke in twelve different sessions and presented his views.


Sarawak: A group photo of Commonwealth Journalists Association 8th Conference participants with chief guest Deputy Chief Minister Sarawak Yang Berhormat Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam. Director Communication Division Commonwealth Secretariat Eduardo del Buey and Director Commonwealth Foundation Dr Mark Collins are also sitting with him in first row while President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar standing sixth from right in second row.

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