Media Foundation 360 conducted an orientation session in Lahore on August 17th, 2019 at Cosmopolitan Club, Lawrence Garden. Lahore. Media experts from various ilk were invited to attend the meeting. The Media Foundation 360 had two main objectives for these meets.
18 senior journalists from print, electronic, and social media were part of the sessions. The meeting with senior media professionals started at 3:00 pm at Cosmopolitan Club, Lahore. Project Director Mr. Mubasher Bukhari opened the session by briefing participants about the purpose of this session and what was expected from them.
The session with mentors was productive. The participants came up with valuable suggestions and feedback alluding to the need assessment and also strengthening the material for the training of journalists. Some of the significant ideas that came forth were:
- Why reporters do not report responsibly specially about minorities, sects, women and children issues?
- A few participants pointed out at the root-causes of this trend.
- Documentary maker and vlogger Shahpara Saleem said that most of the times, reporters are not sensitized about sensitive issues and this is because Pakistani society, in general, is not sensitized. Since reporters are a part of this culture, they mostly come with certain biases and we need to train or guide them on such issues.
- Kashif from Neo News said this problem is more common among local correspondents who do not have degrees in journalism. In such situations, it is a responsibility of people in the news-room to inform them about their mistakes and guide them on what kind of language and phrases they should avoid while reporting sensitive issues. This way, reporters will learn from their mistakes and can apply self- censorship.
Idea generation for training and publication:
The participants were then led on to discuss the ways peace journalism can be promoted and errors rectified.
- Many participants urged that mediapersons must avoid mentioning the sects of religious leaders while reporting any unfortunate incident as this practice can stereotype certain sects.
- They also suggested that style sheets should be distributed in newsrooms that carries the list of phrases that should be avoided and suggest its neutral substitute.
- They supported the possibility of encouraging regular sensitization and trainings for the journalists.
- It was suggested Media Foundation 360 should develop a booklet or a tool-kit carrying a list of do’s and don’ts of religious issues’ reportingand suggesting the vocabulary that ought to be avoided and thatthe toolkit and glossary of words should be shared with PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) so that they can also benefit from it.
- Mr Adnan Kakkar, Editor of website, Humsab, offered that he can start upload the list of words and phrases that we will formulate on his website for the reference of journalists. The meeting ended on a note that this is a significant initiative and more journalists from other regions should also be trained on this issue.
Finally, MF360 identified four of the participants in the capacity of mentors, from the orientation session, on the basis of their experience, status, dedication and willingness for the said responsibility.