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Four-day workshop on journalists’ safety concludes

Pakistan Press Foundation’s (PPF) Secretary-General Owais Aslam Ali said on Sunday that over 50 journalists had become victim of targeted killings in recent years in Pakistan and there was always lack of proper investigation in our society when it came to investigating murder of a journalist.

“Only two out of 50 murder cases of journalists could be resolved in recent years in the country,” he said while speaking at the concluding session of a four-day workshop titled “Safety and Security Training for Journalists”, organized by PPF in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited at a local hotel.

PPF’s chief consultant Kamila Marvi said: “Women in the field of journalism have more exposure to society, as they have to work in the field where they face more sexual harassments.”

A representative of Hyderabad Press Club, Faheem Siddiqui, suggested that a committee comprising at least two female should be formed in every press club to tackle issues of sexual harassment, where every female journalist should report in case she faced any such problem.

Citizens-Police Liaison Committee’s (CPLC) Assistant Chief Shabbar Malik said: “We should never take a threat as a joke because it could be very dangerous to us. Such a threat should immediately be reported to a nearby police station and you should get information about the criminals who are threatening you by getting help from intelligence agencies or CPLC.”

Clinical psychologist belonging to Karwan-e-Hayat, Muhammed Idrees, said that sparing time from one’s busy and strenuous life to enjoy with family and friends was highly important for the refreshment of mind.

He said life is so busy these days that people usually do not get time to improve their mental health which could result in a mental disorder. “There are many ways to get relief or minimise your mental stress and these include exercise, listing your problems and find their solutions.”

Criticising the media for highlighting severe injuries cases, Idrees said that such exposures could lead to anxiety and depression in the society.

Bytes for All’s Manager (Research), Faheem Zafar, said that leaving digital equipments unsecured, specially mobile phone, was the most vulnerable device as it could be easily traced and through which your complete information could be looked into.

“Journalists are the mirror of society and they have to tell the truth, so there could be many possible enemies who could penetrate their digital accounts to get their personal information and misuse that,” he observed.

Zafar said there are several software and applications which could help encounter cyber threats, such as Spybot. This software could help in leaving no trace to be located by others, while Firewall would tell you what is entering your computer and what is going out of it without getting notice of it,” he added.

He said Chrome and Firefox are reliable browsers, therefore, using Internet Explorer should be avoided, while in e-mail services Hotmail and Yahoo are the most vulnerable services, although Gmail is relevantly better. The manager said opening website with writing https in browser is more secure rather than http which is insecure.

A trainer of Bytes for All, Farhan Hussain, said Facebook privacy settings must be checked from time to time as they very often change it without giving any notification, expose your private things and posts.

“In case there is a threat from cyber crimes to you or somebody is bothering you on mobile, which is usually faced by females, then FIA could be contacted as they have a cyber wing to deal with these kinds of troubles which is very effective and efficient,” he said.

A former master trainer and commandant of Federal Civil Defence Training School (FCDTS), Sarfaraz Ahmed Jafri, said: “Readiness of mind has a key importance for a person at the time of emergency or disaster to apply safety measures and rescue his own life and, if gets chance, others, as well.”

He said there was no alternative for a human life, therefore, it was always necessary to save it first. “Disaster or emergency mostly occur suddenly so, one should always be prepared for that and keep a first aid kit with him at home and while travelling away.”

Jafri said at the time of emergency one is required to check ABC (airway, breathing and circulation) of the victim. “Apply direct pressure to the wound and wash it thoroughly, however if something for example shrapnel or bullet shell penetrates body, it should not be pulled out because bleeding would be uncontrollable if it was pulled out.”

Senior trainer, Sub-Inspector Gul Awan said nobody should come closer to the crime scene or try to touch things around but law-enforcement agencies, because everything, if placed as it was right after the crime, could tell about the criminals through forensic evidences, and the threat of a secondary blast was always looming there. You may cover it closely after the police had completed their investigation.

“Always keep a way out first in your mind before entering any mobbed area. Do not try to run during crossfire but take shelter behind something solid or lay down straight because it is difficult for targeting a person lying down from a distance,” he said.

A DSP, on the occasion, said law-making was direly needed in the society as we were still following slavery-era law (British) in which direct FIR was reported without prior investigation which meant that now the accused could only get bail through court.

Principal of Police Training College, SP Javed, lauded the initiative taken by PPF for educating journalists about crime scene.

FCDTS’s senior trainer Altaf Hussain Dada, PPF’s Sr. Co-ordinator Musawir Shahid, Co-ordinator Naseem Akhter Shaikh, representatives of Hyderabad Press Club, Khuzdar Press Club, Quetta Press Club, Larkana Press Club Mirpurkhas Press Club and Nawabshah Press Club and local media people were also present on the occasion.

Business Recorder