DCMF gives training to scribes in rural Pakistan

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Participants take notes at one of the workshops.

Following a successful collaboration last year, Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) recently concluded a series of workshops organised in conjunction with Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP), aimed at improving safety and security conditions for journalists living in the rural areas of the country.
The organisations joined hands to hold 12 workshops over the past year and a half, bringing together and assisting nearly 100 journalists working in some of the most dangerous conditions in the world.
The final instalment in the series took place last month, marking the conclusion of a successful partnership and a step towards providing more media workers with protection and helping defend media freedom in Pakistan.
It became apparent that journalists in rural Pakistan were concerned about their security as a result of issues related to threats from politicians, feudal leaders and others. Many had also faced difficulties with the police, facing trumped-up charges and being forced to pay fines and bribes.
The workshops focused on covering sensitive topics and the importance of adopting a balanced approach while writing stories. The trainers explained that reporters must avoid sensationalising stories and stick to confirmed facts. The journalists were also taught about reporting in disaster situations and the trainers advised the participants to steer clear of reporting hate speech and exacerbating religious conflicts.
Safety advice was also provided to help media workers identify possible traps and other dangerous situations in the field.
On March 30-31, 18 journalists working in the Yazman area of Bahawalpur participated in the Safety of Journalists workshop – the first-ever training session for scribes organised in the area. The next two workshops were held in Khairpur (April 13-14) and Taranda Muhammad Panah (April 27-29).
Journalists from Khanqah Sharif, Liaquatpur and Khan Bela then took part in workshops to wind up the second half of the DCMF and RMNP programme.
DCMF general director Jan Keulen emphasised that “Pakistan is a frontline country in the UN Plan of Action”. “Terrorism, religious extremism, sectarian violence and an alarming security situation in Pakistan demand strict safety measures for journalists,” he said, adding that the workshops were part of the centre’s Ali Hasan al Jaber safety programme.
RMNP president Ehsan Ahmed Sehar outlined his concerns for members of the media in Pakistan, making a number of recommendations for the future. He demanded that Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohamed Chaudhry, must take action to ensure that journalists no longer faced false terrorism charges. He also highlighted the dangers facing journalists in places such as Balochistan.
Source: Gulf TIMES

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