Right to Know

Objective reporting, safety and cyber security training for journalists

Karachi: To ensure journalists’ safety and security while reporting from the field, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) organized the three-day training on, “Safety, Digital Security and Psychosocial Support” for journalists with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU), in Karachi. The training workshop was attended by male and female journalists from various districts of Sindh and Balochistan. The workshop consisted of multiple activities in order to benefit the media workers and journalists during their fieldwork in perilous situations. The training sessions consist of various modules and practical exercises explaining the details of objectivity in reporting, risk assessment, preparation of proof of life documents, first aid, tips for coping with untoward situations,s, and tactics for ensuring digital security. The workshop discussed national and international legal frameworks for the protection of journalists emphasizing Articles 10, 19, and 19-A of the constitution of Pakistan which are related to arbitrary detention, freedom of speech, and right of access to information respectively. Syed Raza Ali, Project Coordinator, CPDI explained the importance of the Right to Information for investigative journalism. Ali enlightens the training participants on the process of filing information requests and procedures for lodging complaints. Ashfaq Khan, the trainer explained constitutional provisions regards to journalists’ safety and he elaborated that protection and impunity in crimes against journalists need the immediate attention of the government. Speedy and effective legislation is the need of the hour as there is no specific law that deals with journalists’ protection and safety.
During the training session, it also came to the forefront that journalists who are working on crimes, political and corruption beats are more exposed to risky situations. Pakistan is reported as one of the most dangerous countries for journalism in the world, and it is considered that journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in Pakistan. Media organizations with limited resources, cannot provide adequate protection training and security to journalists and freelancers. In view of these circumstances, CPDI launched the project “Civil Society for Independent Media and Expression (CIME)” with the financial support of the European Union in order to ensure Freedom of Expression within the ambit of the constitution and prioritize journalists’ safety training for the purpose. The training sessions were delivered in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar while the 10th session of the training concluded today in Karachi, after awarding course completion certificates among the participants.
Sadaf Suleman, Shafqat Aziz, Ayesha Shaikh, Rimsha, Rashid Ali, Hafiz Ullah, Mohib Ullah, Mir Behram Baloch, Atif Raza, Rani Wahidi, Mashal Baloch, Arshad Yousafzai Junaid Shah and others participants of the training said that such training sessions would prove helpful in ensuring safety and security in field reporting while the networking among journalists through these forums will generate a collective voice for advocating for better legislation for journalists’ protection and security. Organizing such training sessions for young journalists not only enhances their professional skills but also helps them to cope with unsafe and stressful situations during the course of duty.
Various groups of journalists commended the efforts of CPDI and the European Union for organizing such training sessions and called on the journalists’ organizations to hold similar sessions for young journalists in order to ensure their safety and protection in the field.

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