Training of journalists a must: US embassy official | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Training of journalists a must: US embassy official

Pakistan Press Foundation

Islamabad: Counsellor for Public Affairs, US Embassy Angela Aggeler on Wednesday said that regular training of journalists is mandatory to improve their capacity and make them capable of providing accurate information to the masses.

“Media need to provide accurate news to the general public, as provision of no information is better than false information, as false information is highly dangerous for state and general public” Angela Aggeler, said while addressing the third National Media Conference organised by Individualland Pakistan, a research based consulting and advocacy firm with the collaboration of Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

The conference was attended by journalists, media personnel and civil society members from across the country. This year’s conference was titled ‘evolution of media: requirements, facts and fears from a free, independent and responsible media’s (FIRM) perspective.’

The counsellor for Public Affairs US embassy said that all of us witnessed quite an eventful past decade in and around Pakistan and the citizens would not have felt more informed without the existence of a free and independent Pakistani media. “When I was a child, there were less sources of getting news, but now-a-days, news can be read on mobile phones even”, he said.

Toby Mendel Executive Director Centre for Law and Democracy, while highlighting the importance of Right to Information (RTI) law, said that earlier, RTI law was adopted only in 14 countries, but presently 95 countries have adopted it including Pakistan due to which quality of access to information is improving with each passing day.

He said that Pakistan had adopted Right to Information Law in 2002, but unfortunately it was a very weak law. Pakistan got very low points in a survey that was carried out to check the usage and quality of RTI law world-wide, he said.

Toby appreciated the Right to Information law recently launch by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government. Right to information law is one of a powerful tools for journalists for breaking news stories, he said.

Earlier in his opening remarks Gulmina Bilal Ahmad, Executive Director Individualland Pakistan, said, “I sometimes visualise our media as a car racing event, where every driver wants to reach the finish line before the other without caring for smaller bumps and speed breakers and without looking into the rear-view mirror. But now is the time to introduce a rear-view mirror in these cars.”

She said that according to PFUJ as many as 18,000 journalists working in Pakistan, but the training of media personnel is very limited in the country. Few organisations like us try to provide training to the journalists. Individualland Pakistan has outreach in 76 districts of Pakistan and provides training to approximately 3,000 journalists.

She said that the main objective of the national media conference 2013 is to get an idea from journalists as to what can be done to improve journalism in the country.

Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Chief of Party Citizen’s voice project also highlighted the need of ‘RTI’ and the role of media in a democratic society. He said that KPK government has launched a strong RTI law, but unfortunately federal government and the government of Balochistan have taken no initiative in this regard.

Zahid Abdullah, Center for Peace and Development Initiative, who is an expert on the subject matter focused on the implementation of RTI. He further added, “Although the right is in existence from more than a decade now, but its implementation is still weak.”

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