Workshop on ‘Safety of journalists in conflict areas’ Khanqah Sharif Tehsil Sadar Bahawalpur March 21-22, 2011 ‘Code of ethics must to safeguard mediamen’

Khanqah Sharif (Rural Pakistan): Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) has exhorted upon the political and religious parties and groups to formulate “Code of Ethics” for ensuring security and safety of the media-persons while performing their professional assignments within the country and abroad as well.


Expressing grave concern over the rampant trend of intolerance and attack on media-persons by various groups and political parties within the country and abroad President RMNP Ahmed Sehar, President Tehsil Sadar Press Club Bahawalpur Zafar Iqbal Minhas, Patron Iftikhar Ahmed Alvi and President Press Club Mubarakpur Mazhar Rasheed said it is the duty of the organizers of the functions or protest rallies and marches to ensure security of the media persons. They were addressing certificate giving ceremony of two days long training workshop “Safety for Journalists Working in Conflict Areas and Hostile Environment” organised by the Rural Media Network Pakistan incollaboration with UNESCO in Seerani Community hall, Khanqah Sharif. It was attended by 26 journalists hailing from Khanqah Sharif, Goth Mehrab, Musafir Khana, Mubarakpur, Samasatta and Noorpur Nauranga areas while Director Information Bahawalpur Ejaz Ahmed Ghauri was the chief guest on this occasion.


President RMNP and other speakers contended that it is universal practice all over the world that journalists are being facilitate in discharge of their professional duties, but it is very unfortunate that instead of providing them assistance the Journalists are targeted, assaulted and tortured. Such uncalled practice is very dangerous and indicates
menace of incidents of scuffling the media persons especially Pakistani being witnessed frequently. They also demanded the government to fulfill its promises and enact the right to information law, replacing Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 so that journalists and citizens could have access to information by public bodies.


They added that under Article 19-A of Pakistan constitution, access to information was a fundamental right and the government was constitutionally bound to enact a right to information law. It is only through the right of having access to official documents that the journalists can have access to information held by government as a right and can thus ensure judicious utilisation of public money. They lamented the fact that Punjab, despite being the biggest province of the country had not legislated to provide its residents easy access to information held by provincial departments. They
stressed upon the Punjab Government to present the draft right to information law in the Punjab Assembly. President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar told that 14 Pakistani journalists have been killed in the line of duty during last thirteen months and famous media watchdogs RSF and CPJ have declared Pakistan as deadliest country for journalists.


He said that as many as 100 rural journalists belonging to RahimyarKhan and Bahawalpur districts would be trained upto third week of May ,2011 in four different workshops while RMNP would organise a big media training event in Multan for the training of 140 journalists representing 14 districts of South Punjab very soon. Earlier resource
persons Khalid Saeed Content Editor Mediators Karachi and Professor Doctor Tauseef Ahmed Khan of Mass Communication Department Government Federal Urdu University Karachi informed that they 26 journalists have
learned techniques in workshop to deal with the possible dangers besides reporting of the violent mobs.


Director Information Bahawalpur Division Ejaz Ahmed Ghauri greeted RMNP for completing second phase of its Safety Training Programme and hoped that training opportunities would be provided at the doorsteps of other rural journalists of South Punjab in near future. He highlighted to role of Punjab Information Department and said that we were doing utmost for the remedy of journalists grievances. Director Information said that power of regional press was
increasing day by day and rural journalists were pinpointing the real issues in their stories confronted by the masses. Though they were victimised in many areas by influencials and different pressure groups but they have not bowed down by these tactics. He assured his full assistance to rural journalists in resolving their genuine demands.


Later on Director Information Ejaz Ahmed Ghauri ,Resource Persons Professor Doctor Tauseef Ahmed Khan and Khalid Seed gave away certificates to twenty six participants Zafar Iqbal Minhas,Zafar Iqbal Jamali, Rana Javed Akhter, Haji Akhter Ali, Syed HafeezurRehman, Mohd Ashiq Najmi, Syed Mazhar Hussein Bukhari, Iftikhar Ahmed Alvi, Rehmatullah Rajput, Waqar Ahmed, Tahir Amjad Baloch, Mazhar Rahid, Talib Hussein, Mohd Asif Siddiqui, Mohd Ramzan Khan, Mohd Yar, Abdul rehman Nasar, Malik Mohd Ibrahim, Mohd Ismael, Shehar Yar, Mian Mohd Safdar, Faraz Haider Khan, Hafeez Ahmed Malk, Khwaja Mohd Tyyab, Mohd Ejaz and Mohd Ejaz Baloch.

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