Workshop and round table discussion for freelance journalists based in Baluchistan
Pakistan Press Foundation with support of Open Society Foundation (OSF) organized a three-day workshop on ‘Mobile Journalism for freelance Journalists based in Baluchistan’ and a round table discussion with the publishers and editors of media houses to discuss the problems, opportunities and recommendations for the freelance journalists based in Baluchistan. The training was conducted by Qazi Asif, a senior journalist.
The round table was also moderated by journalists Qazi Asif joined by Asif Baloch publisher of daily Azadi and Baluchistan Express; Syed Kamran Mumtaz, publisher daily Mashriq; Zafarullah Achakzai, publisher and editor daily Qudrat; Anwarullah Khan, news editor daily Qudrat; and Shahzada Zulfiqar, bureau chief of Bol TV and former president of Quetta Press Club.
Kamran Mumtaz said that ‘Media owners here in Pakistan are not willing to pay minimum wages as per labour laws’.
Zafarullah Achakzai said that‘freelance journalists are not accepted by the profession and added that should at least be given associate level membership by the press clubs’.
He said Punjab and KPK have started digital wings and Baluchistan’s information department is also working on digital wing. He said that unfortunately this is the biggest truth that our media organizations welcome journalists not on the basis of quality news but on the basis of quantity of business through ads. He assured his support for the freelance journalists based in Baluchistan.
Asif Baloch said it is difficult to hold freelance journalists responsible and accountable and thereforewe can’t trust them as they are not answerable to anyone. He said,‘there many experienced journalists who now do quality stories and reputed organizations pay them high salaries. He said unfortunately small organizations are not able to pay good salaries.
At this discussion freelance journalists brought their issues in front of publishers and editors.The issues included: working without payment by media organisations; threats they face on daily basis; problems due to non-issuance of professional cards and difficulties in getting membershipof press clubs andunions.
Qazi Asif said,‘it is an effort on the part of Pakistan Press Foundation to connect freelance journalists with the media owners and editors, also PPF is planning to launch a website; where freelancers can get connected and find resources relevant to their work’.
Participants appreciated the workshop; Tayyab Yallanzai,journalist from Nushki said, ‘mobile journalism workshops should also be organized at district level’ and Din Muhammad, journalist from Quetta had said, ‘there’s a strong need of mobile journalism course in the curriculum of universities as students have more use of social media’.Chaudry Imtiaz, journalist from Quettasaid that, ‘If PPF succeeds in facilitating the group of freelance journalists, it will be one of the best platforms to raise collective voices’.