Security, future of journalists top agenda as National Media Conference opens at IBA

April 21,2017

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The National Media Conference brought together over two hundred journalists from across the country on its inaugural day held at the Institute of Business Administration’s (IBA) city campus.

Organised by the IBA’s Centre for Excellence in Journalism CEJ, the two-day event is themed around digital media and security of journalists.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, senior journalist M Ziauddin said Pakistan had been in a state of war for the last 30 years.

He the capacity to report objectively could not be produced in Pakistan as the country had been turned into a security state.

“Often, the use of a wrong word and a wrong headline could put the life of a journalist in danger,” he said.

Speaking in a breakout session, veteran journalist Ghazi Salahuddin lamented the declining standards of human resources in the country, saying that the country’s collective intellectual capacity was being eroded.

The importance of credibility and integrity of journalists was a recurring topic. The moderator of the panel discussion on ‘Future of Digital News’, journalist Amber Rahim Shamsi said one should check the credibility of a post before reposting it on social media.

Elisa Tinsley of the International Centre of Journalism spoke about the shift in journalism due to the rise of digital media, saying journalists now needed to know a bit of everything. She said that everyone in the industry was in a constant learning process.

Hannah Bloch of the National Public Radio said working journalists should keep learning the nuances of modern technology and keep developing innovative skills.

Addressing the dangers faced by media professionals in the age of digital media, journalist Ovais Jafar said that many digital journalists had been attacked. He stressed on the need for digital training and security in this context.

Running parallel to the breakout discussions, the CEJ held six training sessions for 120 journalists from across the country.

Tailored to the requirements of Pakistani newsrooms, trainings were held on topics such physical security for journalists, multimedia smartphone reporting, data journalism, social media outreach and digital rights.

Speaking on the occasion, CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi said the age of print media had come to an end. He said the CEJ aimed to help journalists adapt the fast changing environment.

Senior journalists M Ziauddin and Zubeida Mustafa were presented with a lifetime award for Years of Outstanding Contribution to Journalism in Pakistan.

Earlier, speaking at the opening dinner of the conference held on April 19 at a local hotel, Kamal Siddiqi had said that since its inception, the CEJ had trained around 700 working both male and female journalists and most of them were not Karachi-based journalists.

He said the CEJ had been named the best training centre for journalism in Pakistan in a recent survey.


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