More than 300 journalists from Multan district organised a demonstration here on Sunday, demanding the introduction of journalism courses at colleges and universities in the south Punjab.
Currently journalism is taught at master’s level at Bahauddin Zakariya University and Islamia University Bahawalpur.
The protesting journalists gathered in front of the Multan Press Club. They claimed that students aspiring to become journalists were being deprived of professional education that, they said, resulted in lack of awareness about professional ethics and understanding. They said it was also one reason there were few journalists with a degree in journalism.
The protesters accused the government of discrimination against south Punjab by depriving the profession of qualified journalists.
Farhan Malghani, the regional chief of Waqt News, said he had raised the matter before the former Higher Education Department secretary, Ijaz Munir, when he visited the BZU. He regretted that despite assurances in this regard, colleges in south Punjab still did not have the subject.
Former Multan Press Club president Shakeel Anjum said every time the matter was taken up, the officials concerned said there were no funds for this.
Muhammad Irtaza, the Daily Nation bureau chief, said that teaching journalism would improve the understanding of the subject.
Journalist Nadeem Shah, a Hubert H Humphrey fellow, told The Express Tribune that only after the fellowship had he realised that studying principles of communication was crucial.
Salman Shah, the ARY deputy bureau chief for south Punjab; and Amjab Bukhari, chief reporter at Daily Express; were also present.
The protesters demanded that the Higher Education Department introduce journalism courses all colleges in south Punjab. They said hundreds of seats were lying vacant at the colleges for more than five years. They said they planned to march to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Lahore next week if their demands were not met.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2013.
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