National showcasing: Making way for an informed, critical media

Published: April 2, 2012

A total of 30 journalists, mostly from disaster-hit areas, were selected for the session to be trained how to address narratives on disaster, to focus on the structural roots of the devastation, and to build in-depth knowledge on humanitarian crises.

ISLAMABAD: Critique and self-criticism was the theme of the hour during the first day of National Showcasing organised by Rozan, a non-governmental organisation, on Sunday to sensitise local journalists.

During the first session, a project by Sohni Dharti Media Fellowship incorporating 200 select photographs, eight short and two major documentaries was exhibited at the Pakistan National Council of The Arts (PNCA). A total of 30 journalists, mostly from disaster-hit areas, were selected for the session to be trained how to address narratives on disaster, to focus on the structural roots of the devastation, and to build in-depth knowledge on humanitarian crises.

The first panel comprised of Geo TV Multan Bureau Chief Jamshed Rizwani and senior journalists Absar Alam, Talat Hussain and Mujahid Barelvi, with columnist Harris Khalique as the moderator. The panellists agreed that in today’s world of event-based journalism, floods are an unfolding tragedy in which regular follow-ups are required, but sadly forgone by media persons in Pakistan.

Senior journalist Barelvi highlighted the plight of senior journalists who suffer under the pressure of delivering high ratings. “People are responsible for the behaviour of the media, which responds to what the people demand,” he said, igniting a heated but inconclusive discussion on the issue.

Second seminar

The need for sustainable water management and restoration systems to overcome the challenges of water scarcity was the highlight of the second session, which was on Individual Efforts’ and Coordinated Strategies.

Ibrar Qazi, an expert on water issues, said the weakness of Pakistan’s water management and restoration is evidenced by the loss of 85 per cent of its water into the ocean. He warned that Pakistan will be one of the water scarce countries in the coming years if it fails to harness the natural resource by using small and large-sized water reservoirs.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Coastal Ecosystem Senior Advisor Tahir Qureshi said that people across the Indus River Delta have lost their livelihoods due to the lack of water management by the authorities.

He said that many former settlements in the delta have been abandoned due to lack of water in the Indus and the encroaching Arabian Sea. “Water should not be treated as a commodity, but as a fundamental right of every citizen,” he remarked. Experts on water issues, media persons, civil society representatives and academicians participated in the event.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.

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