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Channeling the voices of Earthquake affecteess

Networking & Advocacy > Channeling the voices of Earthquake affectees

A six-day field-based media training workshop

A six-day field-based media training workshop; 'Channeling the Voices of Earthquake Affectees' was held from 13-18 February, 2006 at Islamabad and three disaster areas: Abbottabad, Mansehra and Battgram. The workshop was organized by Uks- A Research, Resource & Publication Center on Women and Media, in collaboration with The Asia Foundation as part of the 'Mobilizing Media for Democratic Reform' (MMDR) project to design and conduct two sets of programming activities to strengthen the role that independent media plays in advancing democratic processes in Pakistan. The field-based training workshops for journalists were part of this activity.

37 participants representing a range of independent media outlets including print, radio and television from all the four provinces of Pakistan attended the workshop. The main aim of the workshop was to develop the capacity of Pakistan's media in investigative reporting. The workshop was designed and implemented within the context of the October 8, 2005 Earthquake in Pakistan. The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • build the capacity of independent media
  • establish standards of fair and balanced reporting

In the first two days of the workshop, media experts presented an in-depth analysis of various types of reporting and ways to enhance and strengthen reporting techniques. These interactive sessions were based on presenters experience in national and international reporting.

In the Islamabad sessions, Ms. Babara Plett, BBC correspondent Pakistan gave a detailed account of her experiences of the complexities of conflict and disaster reporting and how she has been able to cope with the similarities, commonalities and differences of covering these issues in different regions of the world.

Mr. Aamir Ahmad Khan, Editor on-line BBC and Former Editor the Herald, spoke on how personal emotions and involvements become part of the profession and the acceptable limits of personal involvement from a reporter.

Mr. Talat Hussain, Director News and Current Affairs and Bureau Chief-North, Aaj TV, identified ways to enhance media's capability to question the government, policy makers, legislators and agencies delivering relief for positive reporting.

Mr. Farhan Bokhari, Director News and Current Affairs, ARY Pakistan & Correspondent Financial Times (UK) stressed on the need to create roles for the news media beyond stenographic chronicling of the event and its aftermath and elaborated upon ways to improve the quality of an investigative report.

Ms. Sahar Ali, Country Director Panos-Pakistan, spoke on the role of development journalism in post-disaster rehabilitation work and how government and policy can play a significant role in this regard.

In the field visits, facilitators Mr. Ali Asghar Khan, Chairman, Omer Asghar Khan Foundation and Ms. Rashida Dohad, Consultant, gave an overview of the selected areas for field work and established the code of ethics. Participants were divided in three groups. These groups identified obstacles faced during field work, including logistical issues and those related to the social structure of the area. Area-specific issues were also identified during the course of the three-day field visit. These relate to gender, governance and social services including water, education and health.