A workshop on press freedom and violence against journalists on Wednesday failed to discuss either problem at all.
The workshop, titled “Attacks on Journalists and Media Freedom”, was arranged by South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) in collaboration with National Press Club (NPC).
Journalists from different parts of the country participated in the workshop, where NPC President Afzal Butt, Safma Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist President Pervaiz Shaukat were also present.
The participants hardly talked about attacks on journalists and media freedom. The discussion, instead, meandered towards the problems that journalists working in districts face, the entry of nonprofessional people in media organisations and related issues.
Journalists representing press clubs from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Jhelum, Murree, Gujar Khan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa talked about the difficulties they face while reporting.
The participants said that a majority of people at district and tehsil level joining the profession are shopkeepers and even mechanics by day and they do not know the ethics and responsibilities of real journalism, creating a dire need for capacity building.
Alam said that press clubs should be established on district levels to strengthen the local media.
He added that the press club system already in place is weak and many lack proper constitutions.
“There should be formal operating procedures, proper constitutions and audit systems at the press clubs,” he added.
He felt that similar workshops should be held in different areas of the country to strengthen the local media.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.