British newsman conducts workshop for rural journalists -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

British newsman conducts workshop for rural journalists

KARACHI- A workshop for rural journalists was recently organised by Commonwealth Journalists Association in Ahmadpur Sharqia.

The workshop was conducted by renowned British journalist Michael Griffin. He is well-known for his book “Reaping the whirlwind”. The Taliban movement in Afghanistan is a study of the Taliban and the best seller in its own right. He has 16 titles to his credit including such diverse topics as “A family in Kenya” and “Marketing your software skills”.

He was assisted by Ziaul Islam Zuberi a columnist from Karachi and a volunteer with Transparency International who gave presentation on the subjects of corruption and freedom of information act. The local facilitator for this workshop was Ehsan Ahmed Sehar.

The workshop was inaugurated by Nawab of Bahawalpur Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi and was attended by the elite of the city.

Michael Griffin speaking on the occasion said that this workshop intends to impart basic skills to rural journalists. Nawab Salahuddin speaking on the occasion warmly welcomed Griffin and said such a workshop in a rural area is a big achievement and he is thankful to Michael for having travelled all the way from UK to conduct this workshop. Ehsan Ahmad Sehar and other local dignitaries also spoke on the occasion.

The workshop was held at the Ahmadpur Primary school and was attended by 10 female journalists and 11 male journalists. Due to cultural requirements separates classes were conducted for lady journalists which lasted two of the four days allocated for the workshop. The women were given presentations on writing skills, developing stories, the pyramid method, corruption its causes, effects and how media can help in the fight against corruption and basic details about freedom of information act and how it can help them in ensuring their rights.

A survey was also conducted to determine their priorities in the fight against corruption and its results here matched with international survey conducted in 62 countries.

According to the results the participants thought that in the fight against corruption freedom and democracy and example set by leadership were top priorities. This was incidentally also the result in the same survey conducted amongst male journalists.

The male participants of the workshop went through the same course and were also given exercise to determine their level of competence. Subjects of stories pertinent to Ahmadpur were discussed in details and investigative techniques imparted by Michael Griffin to sharpen the skills of the participants.

A presentation on bonded labour was given by Malik Abdul Aziz, advocate and a labour activist from the area of Liaquatpur who gave a detailed history of bondage and how the media can help the less privileged by reporting on their plight. A local advocate from Ahmadpur also gave a presentation and discussed issues such as libel and slander.

It goes to the credit of Michael that he weaved these presentations together in such a manner that the journalists embarked upon a journey of knowledge which was well planned to meet their needs and when they arrived at their destination they were much better informed and more skilled than when they had started on this journey. It would be unfair not to mention the pivotal role of Nawab of Bahawalpur Salahuddin Abbasi whose patronage went a long way towards ensuring the success of this workshop. Nawab Abbasi apart from the inaugural session also distributed participation certificates to male and female participants of the workshop at the end of their respective workshops.

The journalists who attended the workshop included: Shabbir Qureshi, Syed Hussenin Askari, Mazhar Rahsid Akram Zafri, Shahid Bashir, Iftikhar Rehmani, Syed Najam ul Hasan, Imran Mueed Pervaiz, Saif ul Islam and Muddassar Saleem.
Source: The Nation
Date:6/29/2003