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PPF & TAF National Workshop, Karachi

Date: August 29 – 31, 2004
Location: Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and The Aisa Foundation (TAF) organized a three-day national workshop on Media and the Democratic Governance, at Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi, from August 29-31, 2004.

This was the sixth PPF and TAF workshop aimed at promoting understanding of the media persons, including female freelance writers working for various national and regional newspapers, radio and television stations on selected themes and improving their writing skills. 22 participants, 11 men and 11 women, were selected from the five previous workshops for their outstanding performance in terms of feature writing.

Participants of the workshop came from Mardan, Kohala, Mirpur, Panoo Aqil, Badin, Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Kharan, Quetta, Lora Lai, Zhob, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan.

The trainers of the workshop were Ms. Kamyla Marvi, external consultant, Mr. Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary-General PPF, and Mr. Fazal Qureshi, Vice Chairperson PPF.

The key objectives of the workshop were:

1. To promote conceptual understanding of governance, democratic governance and peace among district journalists

2. To enable identification of national and international peace issues for feature-writing

3. To train district journalists in the basic journalistic skill of feature writing.

After introduction and overview of the PPF and TAF programme, they were asked to discuss the previous TAF and PPF workshops they had attended. In the same session, news writing was discussed.

Participants were divided in groups to select three topics for writing theme sentences related to justice, poverty and human rights. Each group discussed the topics with its members and selected one from the three.

In the next session, a discussion on interviewing was held. Participants prepared a list for the purpose, kinds and preparations for interview.

According to the discussion, the purpose of interviews were:

· To know about the ideas of other people
· To gain information / knowledge
· To understand the problem in depth and to find solution for these problems.

Kinds of interview:

· Face to face interview
· Telephonic interview
· Online interview (through emails or internet chatting)
· Interview through mail
· Video-conference interview

Preparing for interviews:

Before interview, the following must be kept in mind:

· The subject of interview must be studies thoroughly
· One must have proper writing material
· Acquiring complete knowledge about the person being interviewed
· Decide about the place, time and topic of interview
· Prepare and write down questions to be asked
· Be punctual
· Be polite and respectful
· Be an effective listener
· Don’t argue

During interview:

· Avoid arguing
· Be polite
· Be patient
· Maintain objectivity
· Keep the difficult questions for the end
· Don’t interrupt
· Keeping the interviewee to the point
· Keep off the record dialogues confidential
· Repeat the numbers and figures to cross check

The participants were afforded the facilities of mobile telephones to call up their news sources in their towns to include really authentic information in their features. With this authentic information and guidance by facilitators, the participants were able to produce better quality features than before.

The next day session began with an over view of the previous day practices. Participants presented the recap of the previous day sessions. They were of the view that the workshop helped in exploring their abilities. They praised the interview session as it made them realize the difficulties and the problems faced by journalists.

In the next session, participants were asked to discuss the challenges and problems faced by the journalists in the profession and field.

According to the discussion, journalists face the following challenges and problems:

· Restricted press freedom
· Low or no pay scale
· Lack of proper training
· No women journalists in rural areas
· Lack of ethics in rural journalism

After preparation of the list, participants were asked to brainstorm and discuss the points in groups. Participants were then divided into different groups and were assigned a topic to discuss.

Group One – Restricted press freedom

The participants of group one, said journalists, individually, can disregard all the influences and pressures and can support press freedom by using all professional abilities and characteristics of his/her personality. Another suggestion given was the participants of the workshop can pass what they have learnt to other journalists in their area. It was also told that in form of groups, press freedom can be promoted by:

– Visiting different rural areas and organizing training workshops for rural journalists.
– Different groups can try to eliminate all the elements working against freedom of the press.
– Members of the group can write articles on press freedom in newspapers and magazines.
– The members of the group will help and support each other in the

Group one discussed the role of PPF for promoting press freedom and said:

– PPF can organize workshop to train journalists play a leading role in press freedom.
– PPF can send suggestions to the government to make laws eliminating hurdles in press freedom.
– PPF can organize trips to rural areas for collecting the information about press freedom.

Group Two – Low or no pay scale

Journalists must work with spirit and enthusiasm for development of t
heir society. Journalists are not being paid properly as compared to the work they do this is why their standard of living is decreasing. Journalists consider journalism as a part time job. They must consider their profession as a major responsibility and must be disciplined. A participants of the group pointed out that incompetent journalists are responsible for decrease in the value of this profession.


Group Three – Lack of proper training

Group three discussed that in form of groups, training could be provided to journalists to build their confidence so that they can make proper investigations. They must be trained to improve coordination with their colleagues. Incompetent and uneducated people should be discouraged to enter journalism. The participants said PPF must organize workshops for journalists to introduce latest steps and procedures to work. They suggested that PPF should provide published training materials to journalists. Journalists must be taught to use computer and internet. Participants asked PPF not to invite incompetent people for training at its workshops.


Group Four – No women journalists in rural areas

The group discussed that individually training of women, on family level, can help increase the level of their confidence. People of the society must respect working women and make working environment suitable for them. It was suggested that to improve the confidence of newly entered women, we must help them to publish their articles and features in newspapers and magazines. In-groups, press club can work to increase confidence in women journalists. The group said seminars must be organized in this regard. Women must be told to coordinate with other women through telephone, fax and letters. The participants of group four we of the view that PPF must organize training workshops for rural and urban women. PPF must publish proper training material and must send its representatives in different schools and colleges.

Group Five – Lack of ethics in rural journalism

According to the discussion by group five, new, educated and competent journalists must be encouraged. Participants said press clubs must work to end yellow journalism and must end groups and unions. He said that the prestige of journalism could only be maintained if only credible news is published. Increase in education level, command over research and broadening the point of views will help in achieving the target. They said journalists must go in depth to reach proper and credible sources to uncover reality. The members of the group were of the opinion that a good journalist must not get pressurized by any one.

It was also suggested that the newspaper employers must hire educated people. A pressure group must be formed. It was also recommended that the journalists participating in the workshop must disseminate what they have learnt. For overcoming lack of ethics in journalists, it was decided that journalists must unite and work together on one platform.

PPF was asked to publish material for creating awareness. It was also said PPF should make contacts with different organizations and must play an important role in organizing press clubs in rural areas.

Participants were then asked what they want to learn as journalists.

Participants wrote their points on the flip charts. The points were:

– Investigative journalism
– Study tour of institutions of journalism
– Internet
– Making video documentary
– Better writing
– Interview techniques
– How to gain confidence
– Record keeping
– Knowledge about law
– Reaching the resources and their use
– Research
– Use of computers and different soft wares
– Techniques of good editing
– Writing in sequence
– Photography

Major part of the workshop was devoted to imparting an advanced level of knowledge about feature writing, to further polish their skills in the area of writing for the newspapers through instructive and interactive sessions. Participants learned about criteria for selection of topics for features, preparation of outlines, how to structure a feature article, as well as identification and selection of secondary sources of information.

Practical exercises on writing and reviewing features in groups helped participants put their newly acquired skills to use. Each participant received individual feedback from trainers as well as peers on his/her feature.

Nationally renowned novelist and drama writer Fatima Surraya Bajia attended the closing session of the workshop. She expressed her delight over seeing young men and women attending the workshop from distant part of Pakistan. She praised women participants and urged to keep up their march forward by facing challenges and hurdles with courage and determination. She also distributed certificates to the participants.

The last item of the programme was announcement of PPF awards for best writers of features, two male and two female. The winners were selected by a special committee of senior journalists and editors from the articles written by the participants in previous workshops, which were published in various national newspapers. The chief guest Ms. Fatima Surayya Bajia distributed the prizes.

The winners were:

Best Women Writers:
1st Prize (Rs10,000) Ms. Nayyar Rani Shafaq from Dera Ghazi Khan.
2nd Prize (Rs5,000) Ms. Rozina Johar Khan Yusufzai from Mardan.

Best Men Writers:
1st Prize (Rs10,000) Mr. Naveed Akram Abbasi of Kohala.
2nd Prize (Rs5,000) Mr. Mohammad Essa of Kharan.

List of Speakers
Name
Designation
Organization
Ms. Kamyla Marvi Tapal
External Consultant
Mr. Owais Aslam Ali
Secretary-General
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Ms. Fazal Qureshi
Vice Chairperson
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

 

List of Participants
Name
Designation
Organization
Noreen Lehri
Research Faculty Member
IDSP — Pakistan
Rozina Johar Khan
Chairperson
Horizon Welfare Society – Mardan
Mumtaz Ali Mangrio
Editor
Daily Nawa-i- Sindh
Naveed Akram Abbasi
Correspondent
Daily Nawa-i-Waqt
Altaf Hamid Rao
Correspondent
Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) & Pakistan Television (PTV)
Seemin Akif Siddiqui
Workshop Coordinator
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Abdul Latif Zargar
District Reporter
Daily Hilal-e-Pakistan
Nayyar Rani Shafaq
Feature writer
Daily Jang
Taj Marree
District Correspondent
Pakistan Press International (PPI)
Ali Akbar
Social Mobilizer
Pakistan Fisher Folk Farm (PFF)
Saima Naz
Feature Editor
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Quratul Ain Butt
Research Officer
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Ch. Abdul Khaliq Shakir
Correspondent
Pakistan Press International (PPI)
Mohammad Essa Mohammad Hasni
Correspondent
Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) & Radio Pakistan
Watan Yaar Khalji
Producer
Radio Pakistan
Kalsoom Bano
Compare & Freelance journalist
Radio Pakistan
Aliya Nasir
Joint Secretary
Women Development Forum
Andaleeb Kausar Jhatial
Member
Amnesty International
Musawir Shahid
Editor
Daily Pasban – Hyderabad
Mussarat Khan Aasi
Bureau Chief
Daily Mashriq – Peshawar
Ambreen Binish
Freelance Journalist
Shehla Nawaz
Freelance journalist

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