July 24-26, 2010
Bahawalpur(Rural Pakistan)Rural Media Network Pakistan(RMNP) incolloboration with Commonwealth Journalists Association organised three days long District Correspondents Skills Development workshop which was attended by seventeen rural journalists Abdul Hameed Saqib, Shabbir Ahmed Qureshi, Rafique Safdar, Syed Sarfraz Hussin Zaidi, A.D.Jalwana, Syed Itrat Hussein, Ejaz Khan Baloch, Mujahid Khalil, Mohd Ejaz Chaudhry, Mohd Imran Lar, Ahmed Ali, Mohammad Yameen, Jamil Shehzad Malik, Mohd ShafiqueurRehman,Aamar Abbasi, Mohd Iqbal Danish and Syed Ghayoor Bukhari of Bahawalpur District. Director Films Section Information Department government of Punjab from Lahore, Director Museum Hussein Ahmed Madni, Director Information Bahawalpur Division Government of Punjab Ejaz Ahmed Ghauri and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillanis s’ nephew Makhdoom Syed SamiulHassan Gillani from Multan conducted twelve sessions on What is news, source of news, types of news writing, the structure of newsitem, body of a newsitem, press release handouts, the art of interviewing, feature writing, ethics of journalism, the law and the journalist, maintenance of reference record. A special press freedom monitoring session was also conducted in which participants learnt the techniques of monitoring press freedom violations and designing of action alerts.
They were also briefed about the constitution of press freedom monitoring committees. Director Films Section Information Department Government of Punjab Mr Nazir Khalid, District Programme Manager NCHD Lodhran Syed NajamulHassan,President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar and Professor Shehzad Ahmed Khan also delivered lectures in three days long workshop.Every part of the programme was followed by practical exercises and discussions.
Training Manual in Urdu Language ,Rural Media Network Pakistan with the assistance of Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) published training manual on basic skills for rural journalists in country Urdu language which copies were delivered during the training workshop, Director Information Government of Punjab termed it very useful for district correspondents. He declared that training manual is the exact requirement of rural journalists, he proposed to deliver its copies to all press clubs and unions of journalists in rural Pakistan.
Inaugural Ceremony .RMNP-CJA Bahawalpur District Correspondents Basic Skills Development Workshop was inaugurated by PPP leader Hassan Askari Sheikh advocate in Jinnah Hall AhmedpurEast on 24th July 2010 .Addressing impressive ceremony, senior PPP leader lauded the role of the Rural Media Network Pakistan(RMNP) and Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) for the capacity building of district correspondents and expressed his hope that new trainees would highlight the development issues confronted by the rural populace. Ex-Tehsil Nazim Makkdoom Syed Sabtain Haider Bukhari,Director Information Films Section Government of Punjab and President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar also addressed the ceremony. Lahore based trainer Nazir Khalid and others in their speeches highlighted the role of print and electronic media and said that there is great need to raise the status and standing of rural journalists who are generally treated very poorly. They told the audience that CJA backed training will improve the quality of news coverage from this impoverished region of Pakistan.
Certificates Giving Ceremony. Certificates giving ceremony was held on 26th July 2010,inwhich Former Federal Minister & Ex-Mayor Municipal Corporation Bahawalpur Farooq Azam Malik was the chief guest. Addressing the ceremony, prominent political figure of the area said the building capacities of district correspondents and promoting mutual understanding between elected representatives and the media would improve the quality of free flow of information to the public, develop greater awareness of rural issues by the rural populace and encourage better governance and democracy. He appreciated both Rural Media Network Pakistan and CJA for making the district correspondents conscious of their responsibility to reflect the project the hopes, aspirations, and needs of rural people, men and women, for a better life through broader awareness. Punjab Government media experts stated that they had imparted training to seventeen district correspondents in news writing, news gathering, article writing, ethics of journalism, maintenance of reference records and other related subjects including how to defend press freedom? Every part of the programme was followed by practical exercises they maintained. Later on Chief guest Farooq Azam Malik, Director Information Bahawalpur Division Ejaz Ahmed Ghauri and Makhdoom Syed Zulfikar Hussein Bukhari gave the certificates to all 17 participants. Certificate giving ceremony was attended by a large number of journalists including presidents of four press clubs of Bahawalpur district.
Recommendations: The three days long course was designed to train a cadre of 15 rural journalists but due to the pressing demand two more journalists were included. They were selected for their capacity to mentor others with whom they work, reinforced by RMNPs’ commitment to rural readership. A lively rural media is the best of bulwark against corruption and eventually help to forge that vital relationship between an informed citizenry and more responsive elected officials, which is essential for the sustainable development and the achievement of the UNITED NATIONS Millennium Development Goals. Pakistan mainstream political parties leaders who attended this workshop in inaugural and concluding ceremonies demanded to organise more training programmes on basic skills for rural journalists due to the mushroom growth of rural publications.They urged RMNP and CJA to equip rural journalists of feudal dominated South Punjab in its first phase as rural journalists representing 65 percent of the country population but they are untrained while no media house in Pakistan has launched any training programme for them.Rural Media Network Pakistan agreed with them that in two years at least 24 workshops will be organised for rural journalists.Workshop strength will be increased to 25 so the maximum journalists of small towns and rural areas be benifitted.Trainees in their evaluation forms requested to organise online-journalism and election reporting courses with a particular focus on rural journalists.They also underlined the need to bring rural women into the profession of media and establishment and upgradation of technical facilities in Press Clubs ,such as internet,computers,mobiles,computing skills.especially in rural areas.President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar who is also Editor and Publisher of Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia donated a new fax machine to Chairman AhmedpurPress Club in the certificate giving ceremony on the behalf of his 21 years old rural newspaper.
Media Coverage. Major Urdu and English national newspapers Nation, The Frontier Post, The Daily Times, Daliy Jang, Daily Nawa-e-Waqt, Daily Pakistan, Daily Khabrain, Daily Ausaf, Daliy Express gave good coverage to the RMNP -CJA training course while regional newspapers Daily Tasalsal and Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia also made the headlines of this training event. Two independent TV Channels Waqt News and Dunya News also telecasted the concluding ceremony news.