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Old Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Muhammad Akmal Muhammad Akmal is offline
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Default The Pakistan Press Foundation

The Pakistan Press Foundation

The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) was established in 1967 as a non-profit organization and continued working until 1974, when it had to suspend operations due to the political environment then prevailing in the country. It was reactivated in 1992, and has since been involved in assisting the development of independent media in Pakistan by conducting training programmes for journalists, carrying out projects in research and documentation and campaigning to defend and promote freedom of the press. The PPF regularly organizes training programmes and seminars, in rural centres as well as in the cities on issues facing the Pakistani media. The organization has worked for the improvement of professional skills, and in helping to raise journalists’ awareness on professional, social, political and human-rights issues as well as those related to the environment.

The PPF collaborates with local, as well as leading national and international organizations including local press clubs and journalists’ unions, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), Asia Foundation, Panos South Asia, Free Voice, UNESCO, Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), The Thompson Foundation, The British Council, The Knight International Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, European Union and The Freedom Forum. In addition to capacity building the PPF is committed to the promotion of freedom of the press in Pakistan. PPF organizes training programmes on press freedom, the rights of journalists and journalistic ethics. PPF has played a leading role in promoting the use of the recently introduced access to information laws and in lobbying for improvement of these laws.

In 1999, the PPF established the PPF-Vicky Zeitlin Media Library and Training Centre, which house an extensive collection of publications on the media and issues of interest to the Pakistani media. Training workshops and seminars are regularly held at the training centre. PPF is working to make harassment of journalists and news organizations politically and socially unacceptable. The foundation produces the PPF Newsflash, a service designed to highlight threats to press freedom in the country. PPF also coordinates financial support for victimized journalists.

The PPF is involved in research and documentation on mass communication in Pakistan. The weekly PPF Media Review, in English and Urdu, compiles important news about the media. The organization has produced a number of reports and publications. PPF is also involved in producing manuals and handbooks on journalism in Urdu and Sindhi language. The PPF is a member of the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), Council of Asian-Pacific Press Institutes (CAPPI) and the Asia-Pacific Communication Network.

The PPF maintains a web site at www.pakistanpressfoundation.org.

Vision

PPF vision is firmly based in the concept of pluralism and media independence.

PPF envisions a Pakistan where the media have the freedom and capacity to reflect the realities of society accurately, in a manner that captivates the interest of their readers and audiences. Mission

Mission

In order to achieve its vision PPF sees its mission as promoting, supporting and protecting media freedoms and to build professionalism amongst the media in Pakistan. PPF defines its mission as

Developing and promoting free, independent and professional media in Pakistan

Objectives (June 2006-June 2008)

Over the next 3 years, PPF will continue to consolidate and develop the core programmes of improving standards of journalism, promoting freedom of expression and enhancing public debate, by building an effective and sustainable organization base to support these programmes. Another major goal is to consolidate institutional learning based around the core programmes by focusing on documentation of learning, consolidating interventions through the development of training manuals and investing in more rigorous monitoring and evaluation.

PPF aims at meeting four objectives

1. Improving professional standards of journalism particularly of the rural media and induction of women in journalism.

2. Promoting and defending freedom of expression and access to information promoted and protected.

3. Enhancing level of public debate through the media.

Objective 1

Improving professional standards of journalism particularly of the rural media and induction of women in journalism.

The projects that PPF plans to undertake to improve professional standards of journalism particularly of the rural media and induction of women in journalism include the following.

1. Further develop and upgrade the journalists training programme for rural women and journalists.
2. Gender in Journalism Awards
3. To assist in the institutional development of rural press clubs..
4. Assist in the professional rehabilitation and development of journalists and media organisations in areas affected by the earthquake of October 8, 2005.


Project 1: Develop and upgrade the journalists training programme for rural women and journalists.

A majority of Pakistanis live and work in the semi urban and rural districts outside the provincial capitals and main metropolitan centres of the country. Following the devolution of power to local governments in over 100 districts all over Pakistan, some of the power base has also shifted to these areas. Districts have thus become a nucleus of increased activity, where union councillors and mayors – elected representatives from among the residents of the area – have some control over development funds and local politics.

The district-based journalist has thus become an important player in the evolving scenario of devolution of power in Pakistan. If media is an agent of change, then the journalist is the foot soldier who can bring about that change.

Historically, the growth and development of media in Pakistan has been in the main metropolitan centres. This phenomenon is not unique to Pakistan. However, what is perhaps different in the Pakistani context, and in fact in most developing economies, is that this growth has remained confined to the urban centres and has not filtered down to the districts.

The district correspondent thus remains neglected, often working in isolation and with little support from his organization whether financial, moral or professional. District correspondents are often poorly educated and grossly underpaid – or even unpaid – journalists who cannot rely on journalism for their sustenance.

PPF’S Rural Journalism Skills Development Programme has played a significant role in meeting the need for trained journalists in rural areas of Pakistan. The programme, started in 1995, coincided with a dramatic growth in the number of publications and a parallel rise in the number of rural correspondents, most of whom have had no experience of working in news organizations. In the cities, newcomers learn from senior colleagues, but in rural areas correspondents generally work alone and do not get on the job training

Over 400 workshops have been organized, in which over 6,000 journalists have been trained throughout the country including remote rural communities. Journalists participating in training workshops are provided basic training in newsgathering, writing and transmission and are introduced to important professional as well as social and political issues.

The Rural Journalism Skills Development Programme has also contributed to raising the awareness of rural journalists to the issues relating to press freedom and ways of defending and promoting this ideal. The rural journalism skills training includes workshops and seminars on press freedom, rights of journalists and journalistic ethics to make local journalists aware of their rights and responsibilities. The workshops introduce rural journalists to the universal concepts and instruments related to freedom of expression.

PPF has received wholehearted co-operation from the rural communities, journalists and the local administration in organizing training workshops. In most instances, the workshops are organized in the premises of the local press clubs. PPF utilizes the services of distinguished professionals, including editors and senior journalists from national and regional newspapers for the training programme. Facilitators and resource persons participate in regular training or trainers programmes to upgrade their skills.

The Rural Journalism Skills Development Programme has made efforts to raise the status and standing of rural journalists who are generally treated very poorly. They work only part-time and are poorly paid. Some are asked to guarantee the sale of newspapers in their area. There is no job security and journalists with many years of service can be fired without just cause. Feudal lords as well as officials and the police resort to bribes, threats, physical force and imprisonment to prevent rural journalists from reporting unpleasant news

Since 2001, PPF has been organizing feature writing training workshops for rural women and distributing their features to newspapers all over the country. The Journalism Training Programmes for Women aims at imparting skills to educated women to write for national and local newspapers and magazines.

This programme includes training in news writing, article writing, ethics of journalism, maintaining reference records and other related subjects. Every part of the programme is followed by practical exercises and discussions. PPF maintains contact with participants and provides them professional advice for publication of articles written by them.

The PPF plans to build on the considerable talent that has identified in previous training programmes to make efforts for professional development of rural journalists, including rural women. The long-term objectives of this programme are to improve the quality of news coverage from the rural areas of Pakistan and to create a pool of trained journalists, including women, to enable publication of newspapers and magazines from rural areas.

While the emphasis during the last decade has been to provide basic training to a large number of rural journalists and women to meet the explosive growth in demand for journalists, the focus over the next three years will be on developing the high level of skills of a smaller number of rural journalists so that they may be able to investigate and cover complex issues.

Rural journalists who have participated in the basic training workshops in smaller centres and show greater promise and commitment to the profession will be invited to participate in the advanced training workshops (Level-2 workshops) that will hold in larger cities. The emphasis of workshops in larger cities is on improving coverage of political, social and economic issues and advanced professional skills such as investigative journalism and in depth news and feature writing. The programme will thus help to increase the range of issues covered from rural areas.

PPF will to add a third level of training for successful level-2 workshops participants. The level-3 training will aim to raise the profile of participants and provide them with opportunity to network with leading political, social and business leaders in provincial large cities. The long term of level-3 workshops will be to create a network of journalists with links with decision makers at provincial and national level who would be able to work for development of media in their areas.

Level-3 training PPF will also arrange for internship of rural journalists in news organizations in large cities. This will give rural journalists practical experience of working in professional news organizations for the first time. Rural journalists will thus be able to better appreciate the needs and constraints of news organizations.

In addition to practical training in news organizations, level-3 training will include several activities including study tours, journalism training sessions and interaction and discussions with senior journalists. Journalists working for radio and television networks regularly participate in training activities of PPF. With the explosive growth of television and similar growth expected in the field of radio, there need to develop the capacities of broadcast journalists so that human resources are available for the rapidly expanding sector..

The PPF rural journalism training initiatives are ideally suited for expansion beyond print into area of radio production and developing links with new stations as they come on line. Rural journalists and women trained by PPF under the programmes could provide the professional human resources for this new medium. PPF will explore the feasibility of working with Pakistan Press International (PPI), the country’s independent news agency, to produce daily radio news and current affairs programmes. This would provide quality news and current affairs programmes that small independent radio stations would not be able to produce on their own.

Over the next three years, PPF will also focus on developing its capabilities in radio journalism and plans to recruit trainers with radio expertise and develop courses in radio journalism aimed at rural journalists.

Project 2: Gender in Journalism Awards

The Gender in Journalism Awards has been established by PPF with the support of UNESCO in 2003. Two awards, each carrying cash prize of Rs. 50,000 (US$ 850) are aimed at recognizing the contribution of journalists towards gender related issues.

One award is for outstanding coverage of any issue by a woman journalist. This award recognizes the competence and contributions of women to journalism and provides role models for women entering or thinking of entering the profession. The second award recognises excellence in reporting gender. This award, open to both male and female journalists, contributes to the creation and dissemination of models of excellence and best practices in coverage of gender issues.

Over 150 entries, comprising news stories, columns, articles and features are received each year from all parts of the country. The awards are judged by eight eminent journalists, media academics, human rights and women’s rights experts. UNESCO and PPF each nominate four judges. Efforts are made to ensure that there is gender balance among judges representing a diversity of languages, viewpoints and geographic distribution of publications. PPF acts as the secretariat of the awards and the secretary-general of PPF as the convenor of the jury.

PPF plans to continue the awards over the next three years.

Last edited by Last Island; Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 07:58 PM.
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