Women journalists establishes forum for nurture professional skills -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Women journalists establishes forum for nurture professional skills

ISLAMABAD: The women journalists of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Saturday formally announced Women Journalists Pakistan (WJP) forum to address professional problems faced by them and find out ways to nurture their skills.

The ceremony was organized at the National Press Club, Islamabad in which Javed Akhtar, Director News Associated Press of Pakistan, Absar Alam, Anchor person Aaj TV, Qatrina Hussain, Anchor person Express TV and Fozia Shahid Anchor Person ATV shared their through provoking ideas and views with a large number of female journalists present there.

According to WJP members, the body is a non-political and intellectual-based forum that aims to provide platform to working women journalists in the print and electronic media.

In addition to raising a collective voice on issues faced by women journalists, the forum will initially focus on two basic aspects – networking and facilitating journalists avail media-related career-building opportunities.

The members said that WJP aims to eliminate the role of ‘middleman’ by connecting women journalists directly to career opportunities so that they could benefit on the basis of their professional capabilities and not as a result of some ‘favor’.

It is an established fact that women are an integral part of the Pakistani media. Professionally, they match their male colleagues and their analytical and investigative skills are quite impressive. With their distinctive approach to political, economic and social issues, women journalists have successfully highlighted the human angle that had previously remained neglected. They have proven themselves, both in the print and the electronic media.

Less than a decade ago, there were very few women in journalism. But things have now changed and with the opening of a string of television channels, many new faces have joined in. These motivated girls have been a valuable addition to the Pakistani media. Viewers, readers and listeners, have all appreciated their work.

However, unfortunately the working conditions in the media houses have remained unchanged. Low salaries, downsizing, lack of professionalism, non-existence of basic facilities for employees like health, old age benefits etc, no job security and non-conducive work environment in majority of media organizations especially in the Urdu print media are indeed big hurdles.

This has greatly affected women journalists because they are often the first ones to become victims of downsizing. Mainly due to social pressures, they cannot work in two or three places like their male colleagues and unlike their male colleagues women are reluctant to seek favors.

The constraints they face due to overall environment in media industry become a hurdle in their way to assume journalism as a career but another dimension of this issue is the problems female journalists face within their community – the biggest is their continuing struggle to become registered journalists within media bodies.

Unfortunately, majority of the women journalists have only been granted associate membership which is actually not regular membership. The condition is worst in under developed areas where women, in most of cases, don’t apply for membership.

This apparently small problem has long lasting effect on the overall situation of female journalists and their growth in media industry. Due to non-registration and inadequate data available of women journalists, they are almost always ignored in capacity building initiatives.
Source: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)
Date:11/14/2010