The trainers included senior journalist Fahad Hussain; Richard Leiby, Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, Puruesh Chaudhary, Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) Ambassador to Pakistan; Amir Jahangir, CEO Mishal Pakistan; Dr. Shamshair Ali Khan and Azmat Abbas from UNICEF Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Fahad Hussain, former director news Express, ARY TV and editor shared his views on how an Editor’s mind works. He told the participants how should a journalists position their stories on social issues, especially on health and children related topics.
Richard Leiby, bureau chief of the Washington Post, while speaking on the occasion said that children issues should be covered with extreme care and sensitivity, ensuring their safety and privacy. He emphasized the role of a journalist in creating awareness and fighting myths which curbs basic child rights and even denies them basic immunizations including polio drops in many parts of Pakistan.
In the presentation on the Health Indicators, Amir Jahangir, CEO Mishal Pakistan and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum shared the importance of health indicators and how journalists can benefit from the WHO’s World Health indicators, UN’s MDGs and World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. He said that “Journalists Against Polio” will play their part in creating awareness regarding the alarming situation of growing number of Polio cases in the country.
Puruesh Chaudhary, Ambassador to Pakistan from the Center for International Media Ethics, a Brussels based media think tank, highlighted the importance of media ethics in reporting on child-sensitive issues. “Pakistani media has to play its role in bringing issues like polio into public debate,” she said. “It has been researched that thousands of children missed their polio drops in the past couple of years with the worst-affected areas being in FATA and Baluchistan, a high number of IDPs influx into Sindh has resulted in increased number of Polio cases from Sindh especially in Karachi”.
Dr. Shamshair Ali Khan representing UNICEF said that Pakistan reported 198 polio cases in 2011, whereas 23 were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 59 in FATA, 73 in Balochistan, 1 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 9 in Punjab and 33 in Sindh.
The World Health Assembly declared Polio as a global emergency during the recently held meeting in Geneva, whereas the Government of Pakistan declared Polio as a national emergency in January 2011.
The “Journalists Against Polio” forum was launched by the Peshawar Press Club president Saiful Islam Saifi earlier last month and the journalists from Quetta Press Club and journalists from Lahore and Karachi have also extended their cooperation on this.
The day-long workshop was attended by health journalists from leading publications, news channels and radio stations.