Center, in collaboration with Center for Excellence in Journalism, Institute of Business Administration (CEJ IBA), conducted a workshop on rights-based health reporting from May 15-18, 2017 at the Karachi City Campus of the Institute. It was the second workshop organized on rights-based health reporting and this year exclusively for women and minorities’ journalists from both broadcast and print news media of Pakistan. Like the first workshop, the purpose of the workshop was to strengthen capacity of journalists and reporters in producing quality coverage around mother and children health issues applying the rights-based perspective. A total of 20 journalists participated in the workshop in which seven represented minority communities.
The focus of this workshop was on story-based reporting, human rights approach, key concepts of mother and children health as well as a panel discussion around challenges and opportunities of health reporting. The sessions were conducted by lead trainer and health communication expert Peter Roberts, Director CEJ Kamal Siddiqi, Center’s Executive Director Dr. Atif Ikram Butt and Social and Behavior Change Communication Specialist Ehtesham Abbas.
The first day of the workshop saw participants of the workshop dive into the makings of what constitutes a story-based journalism. With the help of different exercises and group activities, the trainers led participants into mapping a story and approaching it critically.
On the second day, participants saw a break in the exercises as they were engaged in a series of lectures and debates about minority and health issues. “Unless more people from the minority communities come into the media, their voice will not be heard,” said Kamal Siddiqi while talking about the challenges faced in highlighting the minority issues. The next session provided introduction of the Rights-Based Approach and its application in journalism in making a story rounded and more impactful. Having explained various concepts of human rights, Dr Atif Ikram Butt illustrated framework of relationship between claim-holders and duty-bearers and participants were asked to apply this framework on different stories already published in newspaper on social issue.
The third day of the workshop was based on developing news stories based on the techniques and tools learned in previous two days, later to be presented to a panel. The teams then presented these stories for further scrutiny and critique by the trainers.
“A good story should never die. You have to find ways to make sure they get reported,” said Lubna Jerar Naqvi, Head of Content-Social Media (Special Projects) at the Jang Group. She was responding to a question on stories about health being sidelined by editors and producers in the media industry, as part of a panel which also included Editor for Digital Properties at Samaa TV, Omar R. Quraishi; freelance journalist and former health reporter for Geo News, Akhtar Shaheen Rind, and Nizamuddin Siddiqui from Dawn Newspaper.
The panel was preceded by a presentation by the participants to the panelists. The participants were divided into groups and asked to prepare a story-based reports on the subjects they were given during the workshop. Stories presented to the panel ranged from transgender rights to the fight against polio, to education and minority issues and attended by approximately fifty people. The Q&A session after the presentations had the participants pose different questions to the four panelists. “As a journalist, you have to play with the situation presented,” said Ms. Naqvi to a question on adaptability in media and the situations that journalists usually find themselves in.
The workshop was concluded with certificate distributions to participants followed by a note of thanks from Center’s Executive Director Dr. Atif Ikram Butt.