By Kashif Nawab
Christian Journalists Association of Pakistan (CJAP) organised a four-day residential training workshop for the Christian media professionals to capacitate them on the areas of environmental reporting, media ethics, right to information transparency laws, digital security and investigative journalism. The workshop was held in Donga Gali Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the support of Pakistan Partnership Initiative (PPI) and Diocese of Peshawar.
Bishop of Peshawar, Humphrey Sarfraz Peters on the occasion, articulated that the Christian journalists can play a positive role in media for social and religious harmony of the society. It is substantial for the community development and for the visibility of the Church of Pakistan, nation-wide and also globally, he said.
In addition, Bishop also stressed upon the unbiased, factual and authentic reporting on the issues of marginalized communities without the useless fabrication and exaggeration to the incidents. “The journalists must incorporate the values of social responsibility while reporting on sensitive issues related to religious minorities, manifestation of this practice will encourage the process of peace-building and inclusivity in the society positively”, he stated.
Renowned Investigative Journalist and Media Trainer Mr. Azaz Syed in his session on Investigative reporting, explored the topic by referring to famous case studies of investigative journalism in an interactive manner. He also underlined the important steps involved in the selection and cultivation of the sources, along with the required fact-checking techniques. Azaz Syed, encouraged the CJAP for this initiative of synergizing the professional and students in a single training and termed the workshop as an important step towards the empowerment of Christian media professionals in the country.
Expert on Climate Journalism Asst. Prof Syed Muhammad Saqib, underlined the climate issues in general to a specific manner and underscored the environmental crimes affecting the marginalized communities. While engaging the participants in various group and practical activities he tasked them to brainstorm and develop climate stories on illegal dumping, deforestation, water contamination and waste management with collective wisdom. Reporting on environmental crimes considering the professional standards and techniques were also disseminated to the participants.
Legal and Media and Director IRADA, Aftab Alam, instructed on the topic “Reporting on Sensitive issues and Media Ethics. In an interactive session, he not only explained the ethical consideration required for responsible journalists, while reporting on sensitive incidents but also engaged the participants in a group activity which enhanced their awareness, critical thinking and analytical skills. Aftab Alam, also informed the participants about the reporting opportunities for marginalized reporters available at the platform of IRADA.
Media Trainer on Digital Security Zeeshan Yaqoob, sensitised the participants on the practices and precautions required to ensure the security of their digital platforms and devices. He also introduced the media professionals to the various important digital tools, through which they not only can do assessment of the risks but also can mitigate those risks, which could have serious effects on their online and offline safety.
Senior Anchor Person Miss Sheeba Gill, capacitated the participants on reporting on the gender sensitive issues. She indulged the participants in an intellectual dialogue and guided them refining their narratives in the discourse of socio-gender biases.
Senior Journalist Kashif Nawab, in his session on Right to Information and Transparency laws, explored the participants to the various attributes and benefits of the law incorporated in Article-19 (A) of the constitution of Pakistan. While training, he encouraged the participants to exercise the transparency laws on regular intervals being a journalist, in order to attain authentic information and along with needed accountability of public and private bodies.
The workshop was attended by the Christian media professionals from different cities of the country, including; Lahore, Faisalabad, Kasur, Multan, Wahari, Islamabad and Peshawar. CJAP also had indulged the Christian media students of the Forman Christian College University, Lahore (A Chartered University) Department of Mass Communication, with an motive to enhance their opportunities of learning, networking and professional growth.