Pearl-Shahzad Media Training -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pearl-Shahzad Media Training

Date: 09-13 October 2011
Location: Karachi


Drawing inspiration from Daniel Pearl and Syed Saleem Shahzad — American and Pakistani journalists killed in the line of duty while covering a common war against terror in Pakistan — the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF) and the Pakistani Press Foundation (PPF) will train up to 15 Pakistani reporters in conflict and investigative reporting as well as safety for journalists working in conflict-affected regions. In Pakistan, the journalists will receive a two-day safety and first aid training and a five-day journalistic training program. After completion of these trainings, the best participant will be chosen for a 2012 U.S.-based reporting fellowship. This training program will build a cadre of well-trained journalists able to safely conduct journalistic inquiries that uphold universal principles of transparency, good governance and accountability.

AFPF’s organizational strengths include a reputation for quality, endorsement from our partner the Daniel Pearl Foundation, 15 Pakistani and Indian advisors among our network, an alliance with the PPF which will advise us on, and facilitate, the training, and previous training provided in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

The Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships enables journalists from countries where press freedom is restricted to come to the United States for six months of on-the-job-training in cooperating newsrooms. Fellows, approximately ten per year, work as reporters at American news organizations for the majority of their time, with seminars offered at the beginning, middle and end that complement the practical learning in the newsrooms. Participants gain a broader view of the world and journalism from their American and Fellowship colleagues and return home not only with new skills and knowledge, but a desire to advance a free, responsible press in their own countries. In 27 years, AFPF has trained 279 journalists from 78 countries. Our alumni are well-respected journalists, and advocates for a professional press, in their own countries. Our 12 Pakistani alumni include Anwar Iqbal, Mohammed Hanif, Qudssia Akhlaque, Fasih Ahmed, Ammara Durrani and Umar Cheema.

In recent years, AFPF has expanded its program for increased journalistic and cross-cultural impact. Among other things, AFPF has:

* Provided training to our Fellows by the Poynter Institute, University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, and Investigative Reporters and Editors
* Created 2-5 year training partnerships with media companies in China, Kenya and South Korea thereby having a longer term impact on their newsrooms
* Sent American journalists overseas to conduct training in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam
* Provided “training the trainers” to our Fellows and required them to conduct journalism seminars upon returning home
* Worked with the Daniel Pearl and Paul Klebnikov Foundations to honor these American journalists slain for their journalistic work in Pakistan and Russia respectively . Of the 14 Daniel Pearl Fellows hosted since 2003, half have been from Pakistan. They are: Fasih Ahmed (2003), Ammara Durrani (2005), Shahid Shah (2006), Umar Cheema (2008), Shahzada Irfan Ahmed (2009), Aoun Sahi (2010) and Aatakah Mir (2011).


As a frontline country in the war against terrorism, Pakistan is a dangerous place to practice journalism. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2010, Pakistan had the highest number of journalist deaths in the world. Since January of this year, five journalists have been killed, including Asia Times Online Pakistan Bureau Chief, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was abducted and killed in May, allegedly for his reporting on the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Pakistani military and intelligence operations. While the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan was investigated and some of the perpetrators were prosecuted, most attacks on journalists in Pakistan are not.

Standing at the fault lines of violent conflict, Pakistan is under tremendous pressures internally and externally, which means that its people need accurate information about how its institutions — governmental, economic, religious, educational — are functioning. And its press, in turn, needs help to develop the skills and standards so it can gather and distribute that information. Journalists also need safety and first aid training. Thus, the need for skilled, ethical and courageous reporting has never been greater in Pakistan than it is today.

In a June 11 op-ed piece in The New York Times, his 2008 Alfred Friendly-Daniel Pearl Fellowship host newsroom, Pakistani investigative reporter Umar Cheema called for a journalism training award to honor Syed Saleem Shahzad, much like the one he received in 2008 established by AFPF and the Daniel Pearl Foundation to honor Daniel Pearl. Together with Umar Cheema, other former Fellows, and with the support of the Daniel Pearl and Pakistan Press Foundations, we are taking up his call to provide training in Pakistan both on conflict and investigative reporting skills as well as safety for journalists.


We are seeking $60,000 to partially support this training. An additional $50,000 will come from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. Because the in-country training will take place in September and October we seek to raise the additional $60,000 by September 30, 2011. If we exceed or goal of $60,000, additional training will be provided in Pakistan.

Journalists will be recruited from conflict/hardship areas such as Charsadda, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Quetta and the training will take place in Pakistan, most likely in Islamabad, Karachi or Lahore. The best participants of the Pakistan-based training will be nominated for a 2012 Daniel Pearl Fellowship in the United States.

For recruitment and on-the-ground-support, we will work with our alumni and the PPF. We expect to recruit participants who have not had, but need, such training. Young journalists — 23-35 years old who would also be eligible for an Alfred Friendly-Daniel Pearl Fellowship — will be given preference over senior journalists. We expect that there will be a selection process whereby newsrooms will nominate 1-2 participants for our training.

The workshop will most likely have one international and one Pakistani trainer. We also may enlist some of our alumni to teach or speak during the training sessions. Umar Cheema, for example, can talk about his experience including the writing he believe triggered his kidnapping and precautions he now takes to stay safe.

In advance of our in-country training, the U.S. Embassy will provide a two day safety and first aid training, a mini hostile environment and first aid training (HEFAT) like that offered by Centurion and which many western media organizations provide to their correspondents prior to sending them into conflict-affected regions. The five day workshop will be a combination of discussion and practical exercises on, for example:

* The watchdog role of the press and the responsibilities to neutrality, balance and accuracy
* Interviewing techniques to elicit information, even from hostile sources
* Techniques to gather and present information
* Establishing newsroom protocol for safety of those covering volatile environments
* How to psychologically and physically deal with threats including intimidation, arbitrary arrest, attacks, incommunicado detention, etc.
* Recognizing and dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
* Law and ethics
* Techniques of self-editing
* Using multiple platforms to distribute reports
* Local news gathering

The trainers will nominate up to three participants to submit an application for the 2012 Daniel Pearl Fellowship. Applications will be reviewed by Alfred Friendly Foundation Board members as well as the family of Daniel Pearl. One journalist will be chosen to participate in the six-month reporting fellowship at a U.S. news organization. Training seminars will be offered at the beginning, middle and end of the fellowship. Additional opportunities include investigative reporting conferences and Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR) courses. Daniel Pearl Fellows will also work one week at a Jewish publication and participate in a public discussion, typically in Los Angeles where the Pearl family resides.


Since 1983, the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships has trained journalists from countries where press freedom is challenged. Our alumni are well-respected journalists, and advocates for a professional press, in their own countries. Many attribute their success to what they learned, both professionally and personally, on their Alfred Friendly Fellowships. By drawing on our experience in training individual journalists, in recent years we have expanded our work to provide training outside the United States. Our dual approach reaches many more journalists than we otherwise would.

Along with the PPF and the U.S. Embassy, through this training, we seek to:

* Stimulate the journalists’ adherence to the highest ethical standards and practices
* Build a cadre of well-trained journalists able to conduct journalistic inquiries that uphold universal principles of transparency, good governance and accountability
* Increase and renew the enthusiasm of journalists for their important work
* Provide the tools, skills and knowledge to remain safe
* Build mutual understanding between the United States and Pakistan.