Karachi: January 6: A three day workshop for environmental journalists from across Pakistan, organized by Pakistan Press Foundation (http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org) and UNESCO concluded here.
The workshop was titled Enhancing Media Coverage of Environmental Issues.”
This was the first in a series of two workshops.
15 journalists from across the country were invited to participate, and though the emphasis was more on print media, especially from the regional press, some of the participants also belonged to the mainstream electronic media.
Renowned economist Dr. Pervaiz Amir and Coordinator Education, Communications, Outreach, IUCN Pakistan, Afia Salam served as the facilitators while exercises in feature writing were conducted by Muqtida Ali of PPF.
The journalists were provided a briefing about the major environmental issues of the present time, and were then explained in detail the looming threat of Climate Change and the adaptation/mitigation measures needed to tackle it, with a particular focus on Pakistan.
The scientific knowledge was provided by Dr. Amir whereas Afia identified the techniques of bringing the issues to the fore and how to write or project these stories.
Material prepared by IUCN for COP 15 was also shared with the journalists, and to cross the language barrier, PPF arranged for the translation of the three main brochures published by IUCN Pakistan for COP 15. The translations were vetted and approved by Dr. Amir, who was the writer of the brochures.
A panel discussion was arranged wherein aside from the two facilitators, Naeem Qureshi, president of National Forum for Environmental and Health, an environmental NGO, and Mukhtar Alam, a senior environmental journalist belonging to the daily Dawn shared their experiences and the challenges they faced with the journalists present.
On day 2, the participants of the workshop were taken on a trip to the mangrove forests in the Port Qasim area, where IUCN Pakistan’s Coastal Marine expert, Tahir Qureshi gave them a detailed briefing about the ecosystem, its importance, and the threats it faces, while showcasing IUCN Pakistan’s work in the rehabilitation of the forests.
After the half day trip, the trainees were asked to select a topic for themselves, which was discussed and approved, and they broke away for group work.
Day three dawned with the completion and submission of the rough draft of the stories, and their critiquing by me and Dr. Amir. Resources and links were also shared with the journalists so they could them make their final story more relevant and substantive.
At the certificate distribution ceremony, Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General of Pakistan press Foundation explained to the participants that as part of the design of the workshop, only those will be called back to the second tier session to be held between January 26-28, 2010 in Lahore, who are able to send proof of publication/airing of their stories to PPF, and also post them on the facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=237439408909&ref=ts) that has been started for the participants of this workshop.