The British High Commission organised a series of seminars on the prospects of 'Journalism in 2015 and beyond'. The seminars invited media students from various universities across Islamabad, alumni of the Chevening South Asia Journalism Programme and a range of high profile journalists from Pakistan's leading media outlets.
The keynote speakers included Jean Seaton, the BBC’s Official Historian and also a Professor of Journalism at the University of Westminster in London; Shehryar Khan, the President of the National Press Club of Islamabad; and senior media figures, Azhar Abbas and Muhammad Ziauddin.
Addressing the participants, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, His Excellency Philip Barton CMG OBE said:
Today the British High Commission is hosting a series of workshops and seminars with senior serving journalists, alumni of the Chevening South Asia Journalism Programme and aspiring future journalists. The interactive events have focused on the challenges facing journalists in Pakistan, but also the opportunities available to the profession in 2015 and beyond.
I continue to be struck by the vibrancy and variety of the media in Pakistan, which is proof of how far the industry has come since 2008’s deregulatory reforms.
Journalists and their ability to operate freely, without intimidation and violence, are fundamental to a strong democracy. But it is also hard to escape the fact that 2014 has been a particularly difficult year for journalism in Pakistan. The UK will always champion a free press and support journalists in their important work to help entrench democracy and the country‟s social and economic progress.
Pakistan’s young and aspiring journalists are the torchbearers of tomorrow’s free and responsible media. I hope today’s workshops will play a positive role in promoting and sustaining journalism in Pakistan and encourage serving journalists in the work they do.
President of National Press Club said in his remarks:
I on behalf of my fellow journalists from the National Press Club Islamabad, feel glad to partner with the British High Commission today to bring this seminar „Media challenges today, issues and future of journalism in Pakistan‟.
Pakistan has unfortunately become the most dangerous country for journalists where on average a journalist is killed in less than a month. My colleagues and workers have become a soft target of different groups that includes not only the terrorist outfits but also the political parties, feudal lords, the tribal elders, and different agencies besides the media owners.
Today has been a rewarding experience to listen to the views of the august panel, including Professor Jean Seaton about the international best practices in the field of journalism. It also gave us the opportunity to share our own experiences with aspirant journalist from leading Pakistani Universities about the difficult working environment where we operate.
The session is a step forward from the platform of the National Press Club (NPC) and we are grateful to the British High Commission for joining hands with us to bring this important discussion for the professional development of the journalistic community in Pakistan.
Notes to the editor:
Contact: Press Attaché, British High Commission, Islamabad; tel.92 51 2012000