The Commonwealth Observer

Hostile environment training offered for Pakistan journalists

Indiana National Guard soldiers on the frontlines
Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

To equip journalists with the skills needed to cope with the dangers of reporting from hostile and sensitive areas, Rural Media Network Pakistan has re-launched its training programs for the media of South Punjab.

In collaboration with UNESCO, these sessions focus on skills in print and radio journalism to ensure more effective coverage on sensitive issues. The objective is to ensure completeness and constructiveness without jeopardizing their own well-being, Muhammad Sajjad, RMP’s assistant coordinator said.

In a variety of sessions in several regions, participants will be briefed on sensitive local social issues and how the various voices there need to be incorporated in reports. The first of the three workshops started late last month and others are continuing this month.

Highlighting the background of the training, RMNP president Ehsan Ahmed Khan Sehar said that reporting on conflict requires courage and dedication. “We are making sure that those who choose such a daring job also have the assurance of their safety,” he said.

Since January 2011, RMNP has organized 19 training sessions in different districts of South Punjab, and they have drawn in more than 400 journalists. Sehar said that Pakistan has a long history of conflicts, and hostile environments still exist in parts of South Punjab.

The team of trainers and resource persons is headed by Khalid Seed, former research coordinator at Tokyo University.

Source: RMNP

Photo credit: The U.S. Army / cc

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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