Lahore, 9 August 2023, Christian Journalists Association of Pakistan (CJAP) organized a four-day residential training workshop for Christian media professionals. The workshop aimed to enhance their skills in environmental reporting, media ethics, right-to-information transparency laws, digital security, and investigative journalism. Supported by the Pakistan Partnership Initiative (PPI) and the Diocese of Peshawar, the workshop took place in Donga Gali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On the occasion, the Bishop of Peshawar, Humphrey Sarfraz Peters, emphasized the significant role Christian journalists can play in promoting social and religious harmony in society. He highlighted the importance of such harmony for community development and for elevating the visibility of the Church of Pakistan, both nationally and globally.
Furthermore, the Bishop urged journalists to maintain unbiased, factual, and authentic reporting, especially when covering marginalized communities. He advised against unnecessary exaggeration and emphasized the importance of social responsibility in reporting sensitive issues related to religious minorities. Such responsible reporting, he stated, would foster peace-building and inclusivity in society.
Renowned investigative journalist and media trainer, Mr. Azaz Syed, delved into the intricacies of investigative reporting, using famous case studies to illustrate his points. He highlighted the essential steps in source selection and cultivation and discussed the importance of rigorous fact-checking. Syed commended CJAP for bringing together professionals and students in this training, viewing it as a crucial step towards empowering Christian media professionals in Pakistan.
Expert on Climate Journalism, Assistant Professor Syed Muhammad Saqib, discussed climate issues and the environmental challenges faced by marginalized communities. Through group activities, he encouraged participants to develop stories on topics like illegal dumping, deforestation, water contamination, and waste management.
Aftab Alam, Legal and Media Director at the Institute for Research, Advocacy, and Development (IRADA), led an interactive session on "Reporting on Sensitive Issues and Media Ethics." He emphasized the ethical considerations journalists must adhere to when reporting on sensitive topics. Alam also informed participants about reporting opportunities for marginalized reporters available through IRADA.
Zeeshan Yaqoob, a media trainer specializing in digital security, briefed participants on the necessary precautions for securing their digital platforms and devices. He introduced them to tools that assess and mitigate online risks.
Senior Anchor Person, Sheeba Gill, focused on gender-sensitive reporting. She engaged participants in discussions aimed at refining their narratives in the context of socio-gender biases.
Senior Journalist Kashif Nawab explored the Right to Information and Transparency laws, emphasizing the benefits of the law enshrined in Article-19 (A) of the Pakistani constitution. He encouraged participants to regularly exercise these transparency laws to obtain authentic information and ensure accountability.
The workshop saw participation from Christian media professionals from various Pakistani cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Kasur, Multan, Wahari, Islamabad, and Peshawar. CJAP also included Christian media students from the Forman Christian College University, Lahore's Department of Mass Communication, aiming to enhance their learning, networking, and professional growth opportunities.