PESHAWAR: The department of journalism and mass communication, University of Peshawar has launched its first ever website, providing a platform for local and amateur journalists to promote development journalism in the region.

The launching ceremony of the website was attended by more than 100 participants including government officials, journalists and academia. Shakil Qadir, the secretary of Fata planning and development department was chief guest on the occasion while Mohammad Tayyab Abdullah, the additional director general projects Fata also attended the event.

Addressing the ceremony, Dr Altafullah Khan, the chairman of the department, said that there were many sceptics when the department started development journalism course but efforts of the team, support of Fata Secretariat and Peshawar University made it possible to conduct the courses and launch an official website. He said that many students of the development journalism found jobs in various organisations across the country. The three-month certification course is a joint venture of University of Peshawar and Fata Development Programme.

Seven batches of the training have been already concluded. Up to 115 students are trained so far including students and professionals working with various media and development organisations.

The website was supported by Fata Development Programme, which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Mohammad Atif, the project coordinator, said on the occasion that the website would provide a platform to the alumni Independent Project Reporting course to put up their journalistic content for the development of Fata on the web portal. “IPR also owns a radio programme run on Campus Radio Station, FM 107.4, for community development,” he added.

Shakil Qadar lauded the efforts of University of Peshawar and IPR. He said that course filled the missing link and completed the structure of development management.

“The government departments also want their work to be monitored through an independent body and IPR has filled that space. It can provide its input in this regard,” he said.

At the end of the ceremony, students were also awarded certificates on the completion of three-month development journalism course.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016