National Media Fellowship Showcasing Event

The showcasing event for the National Media Fellowship on Responsible Representation and Reporting on Gender-Based Violence and Child Marriage was held on November 21, 2022, in Karachi. It is an initiative of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with UNFPA and Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ). It was the first in the series of events being launched for 16 Days of Activism.


Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar Chairperson NCSW inaugurated the event and welcomed the audience. She thanked UNFPA, CEJ and Rozan. She appreciated the parliamentarians for their role in producing the best set of laws in our country. She gave an example of the Noor Muqadam case where the victim and abused were both from a highly educated class and lot of content circulated in the media raising questions on the character of the victim which was totally unwanted and very damaging to the family of the victim. She emphasized the need for responsible gender sensitive reporting so that women can play their actual role in the development of the country and Pakistan attains a better respectable position in the community of nations.


The Chief Guest Mr. Saeed Ghani, the Provincial Minister for Labour and Human Resource thanked organizers of the event and emphasized the need and importance of training and sensitization of media professionals. He highlighted the need of raising the level of understanding of a reporter/ story builders for picking the correct angle in an incident, particularly an incident of VAW. The angle of reporting should highlight the crime itself and not the victim or appearance of victim etc. It’s the angle of reporting that builds the narrative and minds of masses and the support and sympathy is generated for the victim but not the abuser.


Mr. Saeed Ghani emphasized that the rating system should be modified or removed, as the  desire of higher rating is damaging and results in false or in-sensitive reporting. The watch role or editor has gone missing due to urgency of rating. There is no system to check the false or misleading reporting and there is no accountability for such reporting. He said that these issues are more of social behaviours. He gave an example of his own family where his illiterate grandmother was the reason for education of the whole family. It also proves that educating a girl is educating a whole generation.


Ms. Behram Gul the UNFPA’s head for Singh Chapter also addressed the occasion and highlighted the role of UNFPA in this very valuable initiative launched against the violence against the women. She assured her support to all relevant organizations in their initiatives for protection and empowerment of women.


Mr. Kamal Siddique the Project Lead of the project explained the background and methodology of this year-long fellowship training program. This year-long fellowship's main focus was on gender-based violence and child marriage being very pertinent issues in Pakistan. He explained that the National Media Fellowship is the first of its kind by the National Commission on the Status of Women of the Government of Pakistan. The fellowship program was launched last year to sensitize journalists towards issues of human rights with special focus on vulnerable groups i.e. women, children and minorities. It was designed to build the local media's capacity in addressing the structural causes of women, children and minorities. The media professionals selected from all over Pakistan through a vigorous process were trained for gender sensitive reporting. These professionals will play vital role in moulding public opinion.


The event consisted of panel discussions on role of different types of media. Senior Journalists and media persons actively participated one year long media fellowship program. At this showcasing event three panel discussions, one each for Print, Electronic and Digital Media were held with the topic “Opportunities and challenges of reporting GBV and Child Marriage”. Some representative documentaries were viewed during the opening sessions, which reflected the promising work of the media fellows trained in this project. The quality of stories proved that such training programs have very powerful impact on media professionals.