Conducts Seminar on ‘Role and Challenges of Free & Responsible Media’ in Quetta

QUETTA, January 20, 2015: PINFO-CR, under USAID Citizens’ Voice Project, organized a seminar on “Role and Challenges of Free and Responsible Media” in collaboration with Baluchistan chapter of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) here on Tuesday.
Mr. Abdullah Jan, Secretary Information, Government of Baluchistan, was the chief guest on the occasion. He lauded the efforts of media in effectively spreading awareness about its roles and responsibilities across the country. The aim of the seminar was to identify issues being faced by the journalist community and sensitize the relevant policy-makers, media owners and decision-makers about them. This will not only help build the capacity of media persons but would also make media transparent, independent and responsible.

Raza-ur-Rehman, President, Quetta Press Club, stressed upon the need for doing responsible reporting. He said, “A journalist’s pen has power but that also demands great responsibility.” He was of the view that the culture of breaking news is jeopardizing the essence of media reporting, which should be looked into.
Saeed Ahmad (Former Director Human Rights Baluchistan) argued that there is a dearth of trained broadcasters and technical experts in Quetta. He urged the young journalists to show character, determination and interest while performing their jobs, as their dedication and commitment to work can bring the provincial media back in the mainstream journalism of Pakistan.
Chaudhary Imtiaz, General Secretary of Baluchistan Union of Journalists, highlighted the importance of having trained expertise that is especially required in the field. He stressed upon the significance of developing code of conduct and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for journalists. Similar views were expressed by Abdul Khaliq, General Secretary, Quetta Press Club, while raising the issue of safety and security of journalists while working in high security

Co-Director PINFO, Syed Ali Hameed also expressed his views on the role of free and responsible media. A large number of students from journalism department, members of Baluchistan Union of Journalists and media community took keen interest in the event.


CSSP holds Provincial Dialogue on Sindh Youth Policy Draft (2012)

KARACHI, January 29, 2015: The Civil Society Support Program (CSSP) in collaboration with USAID’s Citizen’s Voice Project organized a Provincial Dialogue on Sindh Youth Policy (Draft) 2012 in Karachi on Thursday. The event was attended by subject experts, Member Sindh Assembly, representatives from civil society, media personnel and the youth. The dialogue along with the launching of Policy Review Paper was aimed at channelizing a collective effort by taking onboard all the relevant stakeholders with a special emphasis on youth. The dialogue helped in identifying grey areas and suggested improvements in the youth policy that was drafted in 2012.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, Member Sindh Assembly, said it is unfortunate that youth policy 2012 is still in the draft status and the government should take concrete steps to incorporate its recommendations in the policy. She said political parties use youth as fuel to serve their own interests. “Youth is away from books and it is important that reading habits are inculcated in youth”.

Karim Bux Siddiqui, Secretary, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Human Resource Development Board, said it is unfortunate that Pakistan’s ranking in the global Human Development Index (HDI) has gone down from 136 to 146. “We need to question whether we need more graduates and masters or a skilled workforce.”
Ms. Rafia Haleem, Additional Secretary Youth and Sports Department, said that policy is a technical document and it took one and a half years to finalize the paper. She said youth has been consulted and that her department is working hard to address the problems of youth.
“During the consultation process we found that Sindh was the only province where there was a strong rural-urban divide,” said Sabiha Shaheen, representing Bargad, a youth development organization. She said her organization did detailed working on the Sindh Youth Policy and submitted it to the Youth and Sports Departments for further review and input.
M. Parkash, an Advocate and consultant to Sports & Youth Affairs Department, said that youth seats should be reserved in the local bodies and stipends should be given to the youth, while like Punjab, laptops should be given to youth of Sindh.

Later, the floor was opened for question-answer session. The participants underlined the need for updating curriculum that must include text that is aimed not only at promoting inter-faith harmony but also peace in the region. It was emphasized that the approval and implementation of Sindh Youth Policy would prove to be the backbone of the economy, peace and harmony as it would engage and empower the youth in the province. However, it is regretted that the draft of Sindh Youth Policy is still awaiting approval.


Social Media – A Way Forward

ISLAMABAD, January 15, 2015: The USAID’s new Development Outreach and Communications (DOC’s) chief Shondell Towns chaired the Communications Working Group’s (CWG) monthly meeting at the Citizens’ Voice Project (CVP) office on Thursday, January 15, 2015, which was attended by over forty members came across the country.

Manager Communications CVP Syed Abdul Ahad gave comprehensive presentation on the functioning of Citizens’ Voice Project and its achievements since the inception of the project in 2011. He provided details of five Grants Cycle awarded by USAID through the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA-CVP) to the partner organizations throughout Pakistan.

A healthy discussion was held on USAID Pakistan Social Media – Way Forward, in which the participants took keen interest and gave their valuable suggestions for the improvement in means of communications between the USAID and its funded projects.

The crux of the meeting was the maximum utilization of social media for dissemination purposes. It was decided that the next Grants Cycle of CVP would be publicized through USAID social media platforms. Special concern was shown towards the less number of women benefitting from the USAID’s programs. It was decided that in future the trainings and capacity building initiatives of the USAID funded programs would have more women.

During her presentation, Miss. Shondell urged the participants to spend their energies on showing the impact of US assistance on the people of Pakistan, as the new Congress has the majority of Republicans who are conservative about funds control for foreign assistance. She was of the view that all the projects should articulate even smallest success stories to create an impact on the US legislators that funds are being spent judiciously.

The DOC’s chief also emphasized on focusing more energies on earned media in the coming months. She believed that social media was underutilized and for that reason the communications group need to be more strategic, active and smart. Ms. Shondell said it is important to give right message, to the right person at the right time. Timing is important.

She said DOC’s goal is to serve all the USAID funded projects. “We are here to give you the opportunity and space to fly,” she opined and added, “It is up to you how you take advantage of it”.

At the end, Development Outreach and Communications Specialist Haroon Shuaib thanked the participants for attending and the CVP for hosting the meeting in a befitting manner.