AGAHI to address the gaps in media ethics and reporting on investigative journalism on terrorism financing, socio-economic issues, new media, anti-money laundering and safety training
Mishal Pakistan, a strategic communication policy design social enterprise in collaboration with the Center for International Media Ethics, Zigron Training, Center for Investigative Journalists in Bosnia-Sarajevo, Naya Jeevan launched “Agahi’’, an initiative which will increase the capacity of Investigative Journalism and Responsible Reporting at the Multan Press Club.
The programme covered areas such as; Investigative Journalism and Ethics, Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Organisation Funding, Journalism and Society “Millennium Development Goals’’, Reporting in Terrorism and Conflict, Social Media, Journalism and Safety Training. The sessions were designed to be interactive with the audience to improve the understanding related to investigative journalism and responsible reporting.
Agahi, aims to utilize institutionalized, sustainable media structures in Pakistan to raise the bar of journalistic standards through training to increasing responsible, balanced reporting and investigative journalism said Puruesh Chaudhary, CIME Ambassador to Pakistan and the Chief Strategy Officer to the project.
The session in Multan underscored the need for a joint code of conduct to agree upon basic guidelines for reporters and cameramen. Journalists proactively discussed the issues they face as the threats remain real. Journalists not only fear for their own safety but for the safety of their families and relatives as well. The basic problems highlighted were lack of training, non-supportive managements, little or no backup by editorial teams, unavailability of basic resources, pressure groups (criminal and commercial), and absence of a unified code of conduct.
Mishal Pakistan and Multan Press Club, signed a memorandum of understanding on capacity building and training initiatives earlier this year. The MoU envisages empowering the media by capacity building initiatives for the members of the Multan Press Club by creating learning platform through interactive workshops, seminars and courses in specific sectors.
The initiative is being carried in collaboration with the Press Clubs in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir; in the series of interactions with the stakeholders a special Journalism Awards is being created to identify the most respectful and responsible journalists in investigative journalism said Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer Mishal Pakistan.
Teresa Allen, representative for CIME joining the Multan Press Club journalists from California via video conference stressed on the need for continuous educational programmes for journalists in the field and the formulation of an Ethics Policy for the entire journalistic community.
Osama Bin Javaid, News Editor with DAWNNEWS highlighted that every day social issues that impact the community should be part of the news content. He further identified that the millennium development goals (MDGs) as the best tool that flags significance content development to Pakistan. The journalists discussed best practices for issues such as gender/social discrimination, health, education etc. The MDGs provide areas and in those areas specific entities to be investigated.
Asaf Akhtar, an expert in financial sector specializing in frauds and anti-money laundering gave firsthand knowledge on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Organisation Funding techniques and methodologies while giving references to the abduction of Daniel Pearl, the cases of transactions through non-banking channels such hundi and the case of NICL.
The session on Investigative Journalism and Responsible Reporting dealt with the problem being faced by journalists in far-flung conflict areas that are not major cities and where the dynamics of investigation and threats are different. Pakistan remains the most dangerous place on earth for journalists. Dr. Kamran Akmal, representing Naya Jeevan a not-for-profit organization facilitating micro-healthcare instruments encouraged journalists to take precautionary measures while covering incidents and briefed them about basic life support.
The Agahi initiative plans to engage the journalists from other parts of the country as well and it will build the capacity of the press clubs and its members to undertake initiatives on investigative journalism for responsible reporting in Pakistan.