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Home » Karachi

CEJ hosts over 200 journalists on first day of National Media Conference

Karachi: The National Media Conference brought together approximately two hundred journalists on the first day of its inauguration. The National Media Conference has been organized by the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA). Themed around ‘Digital Media and Journalists Security,’ the conference aims to highlight these issues via panel and breakout sessions. It also includes training modules for practicing journalists.

Speaking on the occasion, CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi said the conference aimed to be both informative and educational. He said,” the age of print media has come to an end; there are quite a few whose jobs will become obsolete.” He stressed that CEJ aimed to help journalists adapt to the fast-changing environment, pointing out that some of the courses offered, such as backpack journalism, were the future.

Senior journalists M. Ziauddin, formerly executive editor of The Express Tribune, and Zubeida Mustafa of Dawn were presented with a ‘Lifetime Award for Years of Outstanding Contribution to Journalism’ in Pakistan. Giving the opening speech, M. Ziauddin said that Pakistan has been in a state of war for the last 30 years. He pointed out that the country has not been able to produce capacity to report in the security atmosphere it finds itself in. “Often the use of the wrong word, the wrong headline, or an innocent mistake gets a journalist targeted,” he said.

Speaking in a breakout session, senior journalist Ghazi Salahuddin lamented declining standards of human resources in the country saying, “our collective intellectual capacity is being eroded.” The importance of credibility and integrity of journalists was a recurring topic. Moderator of the panel discussion on “Future of digital news”, Amber Shamsi of Dawn News, stressed, “Before you retweet … check for credibility.”

Elisa Tinsley of the International Centre of Journalism spoke about the shift in journalism due to the rise of digital media saying journalists now need to know “a bit of everything.” She said that everyone in the industry was in a constant learning process. Adding on, Hannah Bloch of National Public Radio (NPR) said that “those who want to stay (in journalism) learn so there is nothing about age or older journalists being edged out.”

Addressing the dangers faced by media professionals in the age of digital media, Ovais Jafar of Geo News said that “so many journalists who produce journalism online have been killed.” He stressed on the need for digital training and security in this context.

Running parallel to the breakout discussions, CEJ held six training sessions for 120 journalists from across the country. Tailored to the requirements of Pakistani newsrooms, trainings were held on the following topics: Physical security for journalists; multimedia/smartphone reporting, data journalism; social media outreach and digital rights.

Earlier, speaking at the opening dinner of the Conference held on April 19 at Avari, Kamal Siddiqi said that since its founding, CEJ has trained around 700 working journalists, most of them from out of Karachi, and including many women. He informed that CEJ has been named the best training centre in Pakistan for journalism in a recent survey and said they planned to make it a regional centre for excellence.

The second day of the Conference will be held on April 21.

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