Workshop in Liaquatpur On Press Clubs: Establishment and the role of media -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Workshop in Liaquatpur On Press Clubs: Establishment and the role of media

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Date: February 26 to 28, 2007
Location: Liaquatpur , District Rahim Yar Khan

Press is the fourth pillar of state and journalists play a vital role for bringing change to any society. They are often compared to troopers at war, constantly on their toes to catch the latest news.

Due to their professional responsibilities, they are under constant strain and have little or no time to attend social or family events. For the purpose of developing balance as well as a link between their personal and professional lives, press clubs were formed all over the world.

Currently in Pakistan, press clubs are established in important cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad as well as in small towns and villages. However, most of them are not completely functional.

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) highlighted such factors that would render press clubs as established and active through a workshop conducted in Liaquatpur, district Rahim Yar Khan from February 26 to 28, 2007.

There were twenty-two participants out of which four participants were females.

The purpose of the workshop was to:

1.Enhance the capacity of journalists to build model press clubs
2.Develop the capacity and skills of journalists to use press club as a centre for professional activities.

The first session of the workshop focused on issues primarily of aims, objectives and how to encounter hurdles being faced by Liaquatpur Press Club.

PPF Chairman, Fazal Qureshi said the workshop was aimed at devising a strategic plan for setting up of a press club exclusively for journalists. He asked the participants their opinion on the utility and functions of a press club.

Habib ur Rehman of Sada-e-Dharti said a press club should be able to provide journalists with an environment that should be a blend of social networking while keeping abreast of what is happening around them so as not to neglect their professional duties.

He added that press clubs could also play an important role for the defense of a country through mutual cooperation and assist affected people during natural calamities. They should also serve as link to government agencies and officials.

Waheed Aslam Rushdi of Sana News said a press club should promote unity amongst journalists, and resolve issues of the people through their writings.

Summarising the discussion, Sameena Ishaque said the press clubs should provide healthy activities for journalists, promote and strengthen their unity and help create closer relations between the government and people.

The following days’ session included d

iscussion on with PPF Chairman and PPI Chief Editor, Fazal Qureshi, who informed participants of a program outlined by PPF for development of press clubs as a permanent solution to their problems.

He said press clubs should be non-political institutions, working for the rights and interests of journalists, for the protection of oppressed people who could protest against injustice through members of press clubs.

Sameena Ishaque said workshops are arranged on issues of development of press clubs in various cities and towns for journalists. She stated that every press club had its own rules and regulations for members.

Suggestions for nessary implementation while formulating a press club put forward by the participants were:

1.A press club should hold regular meetings for the implementation of its decisions.
2.It should provide training to journalists.
3.A committee should be formed to ensure adherence to moral and ethical codes as well as a constitutional committee to implement the constitution of the press club.
4.Every member should be dedicated and work in the interest of the club.
5.A funding committee should be set up for a press club.
6.The constitutional committee plays an important role therefore it is crucial for members to be committed persons to maintain the clubs’ credibility.

On the concluding day of the workshop, participants suggested guidelines for a model press club. They were formed into three groups and together came up with twenty three suggestions broadly categorized as:

1.building, e.g. construction design in accordance with requirements of club members which would include accommodation facilities for visiting guests, sports arena, basic medical and health provisions
2.Provision of technology and communication, e.g. television and radio, internet access.
3.Membership fee to be affordable to both rural and urban journalists,
4.Finance management through fund raising committees
5.Constitutional elections to be held on an annual basis
6.Allowances for female journalists, e.g. special concession on membership fee, separate quarters in the club exclusively for their use.

Tehsil Nazim, Syed Mubeen Ahmed distributed certificates to all the participants and said a press club is where journalists come together in a congenial environment for their personal and professional growth. The government should provide annual grants to press clubs to curb their financial problems.

The local organiser was Gazanfar Ali Siyal, Correspondent, PPI.



List of Speakers
Syed Mubeen Ahmed
Tehsil Nazim
Habibur Rehman
Waheed Aslam Rushdee
Sana News
Fazal Qureshi
Pakistan Press Foundation
Samina Ishtiaque
Pakistan Press Foundation

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