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PPF Workshop Monitoring Press Freedom, Rawalpindi

Location: Rawalpindi

Dates: 6-8 September

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) organised a 3 -day Press freedom Workshop at Kotli Satyan, District Rawalpindi, for local journalists from 6-8 Sept 2005. Kotli Satyan, is twin sister Tehsil Headquarters of District Rawalpindi. It is a picturesque hill station, about one and half hour drive from Murree. Despite its cool climate and natural beauty Kotli Satyan is a backyard town where one does not see the glitter and glamour of Murree. However the area is witnessing a number of development projects launched after induction of the local government system.

The workshop held at the local was attended by 10 educated women, 8 journalists representing various national, regional and local newspapers and magazines.The PPF instructors team consisted of Mr.Fazal Qureshi, Chief Editor PPI & Vice Chairman PPF and Mr. Shafqat Abbasi correspondent PPI in Murree. Senior local journalist Haji Abdul Ghafoor Satti was the local organizer of the programme.

The workshop opened with a recitation from the Holy Quran . Haji Abdul Ghafoor Satti, who is also an elected councilor of the town, welcomed the instructors and thanked PPF for organising the workshop at Kotli Satiyan.. Mr Ghafoor said he knew that PPF had organised similar journalism training workshops in other cities and was waiting for the turn of Kotli Satiyan. Mr.Fazal Qureshi in his brief opening remarks informed the participants about the concept behind the workshop. He also explained how PPF had been playing a notable role in the defence of freedom of press in Pakistan in collaboration with national and international media organisations.

The first session was devoted to”Understanding the Legal Basis of Press Freedom”. Mr.Fazal Qureshi, Chief Editor, Pakistan Press International (PPI) gave a detailed lecture on the legal situation of press freedom in Pakistan. He gave a detailed review of the various laws relating to the media such as the Telegraph Act, The Official Secrets Act, the laws of defamation and contempt of court. The second session of the day included a lecture on the subject of “Constraints to Press Freedom in Pakistan and Importance of Monitoring Press Freedom”. It was explained that despite the high level of freedom of press prevailing in the country, there was still need to be vigilant. The session followed an open discussion on the subject.

On Day Two in the first session Mr.Fazal Qureshi gave a lecture on “The Essentials of Persuasive writing” . He explained that persuasive writing differed from the news report in the sense that it was based on an in depth investigation of the whole matter. It was in the form of “situation reporting” as different from “event reporting”. In session two the subject of
“Designing Action Alerts to Report Press Freedom Violations” was taken up. It was explained that an Action Alert was a report of the event or issue, which was sent out to individuals and organisations to seek their support and suggest action to resolve the issue.

On Day three Mr.Fazal Qureshi engaged the participants in a practical exercise on writing News Alerts. The final segment of the workshop was devoted to Freedom of Information Rules 2004 which allowed citizens and journalists access to information from Federal government bodies. The participants were provided copies of the law and application forms. As a practical exercise, the participants were then asked to fill application forms seeking information on subjects of their interest from the Federal Government organisations. The forms were filled, checked and then placed in envelopes to be posted to government bodies after payment of required fee of Rs. 50 in the government treasury. The workshop ended with a general discussion and feedback from participants about the proceedings.

Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Satti correspondent Nawai Waqt said the journalists in their district, growing fast in numbers, do not have opportunities of training which has resulted in distortions of their professional values and performance. He said in addition to this they constantly faced challenges and hurdles in the discharge of their professional duties.

Mr.Abdullah Haroon Satti correspondent daily Khabrain and Jang appreciated the practical nature of the workshop but wanted an increase in its duration. He said he found practical exercises very helpful in his learning process. It was also heartening to learn that PPF was taking up cases of targeted newsmen and newspapers. This would help raise the morale of working newsmen in rural areas.

Shahid Iqbal Satti, correspondent daily Jinnah, Islamabad said welcomed the holding of the workshop saying that it had made him learn new skills and new knowledge about journalism not learnt during eight years of working as a journalist. He appreciated PPF help to victimized journalists saying that it was heartening to learn that some organization was looking after their interests. Miss Aquila Hayat, a college teacher said it was surprising that they had not even heard of Freedom of Information rules. He thanked PPF for informing them and also filling application forms for information through practical exercise. In the end the participants filled network forms for record of the PPF so that they could be contacted by PPF for information and comments whenever a case of violation of press freedom occurred in their area.

The workshop ended with profuse expressions of thanks to PPF.

 

 

List of Participants
Name
Designation
Organization
Mst. Sobia Rehman
Teacher
Hira Public School (Kot Sattian)
Mst. Hassan Akhtar
Principal
Ghazali Science Academy (Kot Sattian)
Mst. Kausar Naz Satti
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy (Kot Sattian)
Mst. Sadia Khatoon
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Adiba Khanam
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Farida Satti
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Nazia Firdous
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Nuzhat Perveen
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Shahana Yamin
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mst. Aqila Bibi
Teacher
Ghazali Science Academy
Mr. Tariq Mehmood
Administrator
Hira School
Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Satti
Correspondent
Daily Nawa-i-Waqt Islamabad
Mr. Shahid Iqbal Satti
Correspondent
Daily The Jinnah
Mr. Haji Imtiaz Hussain Satti
District Reporter
Roznama Ausaf (Islm) & Asaas (Rawl)
Mr. Abdul Haroon Satti
Correspondent
Daily Khabrain Islamabad
Dr. Mohammad Naseer Satti
District Reporter
Roznama Sahafat Dupeher (Islm)

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