ISLAMABAD: The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has organised a four-day refresher course, which began on Thursday, for the second cohort of the National Media Fellowship.

The fellowship is a collaborative initiative by NCSW, the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Along with overviews on the NCSW and UNFPA’s thematic areas of work, the refresher includes technical sessions on the emotional well-being of journalists while covering issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Child Marriage and Mobile Journalism.

On the first day of refresher, NCSW Chairperson Nilofar Bakhtiar said that media has a very critical role to play in the efforts to curb the violence against women and to create awareness on the issue of child marriage. She said that the fellowship initiative was close to her heart and each cohort of fellows become ambassadors for gender equality and equity for women and girls in Pakistan.

Khawaja Imran Raja, Secretary NCSW, gave a comprehensive overview of the broad objectives of the Commission.

He said, “Established in 2000 by statute, the NCSW is the outcome of the national and international commitments of Pakistan. The vision of the commission is a democratic, just, peaceful, and tolerant society where diversity is celebrated.”

The second cycle of media fellowship consists of a cohort of 40 early and mid-career journalists from across Pakistan who initially attended a ten-day training module at CEJ-IBA on GBV and child marriage.

Jamshed Rizwani, a journalist from Multan, said, “The good thing about the fellowship was the opportunity to understand the issues of GBV and child marriage in different regions of Pakistan and also to learn how the issues of GBV and child marriage can be Reported through mobile phones and digital journalism and effective communication”.

Bilal Rehman, who came from Rahim Yar Khan, said, “The National Media Fellowship proved to be a transformative journey, providing invaluable opportunities for learning, growth, and networking within the media industry. The programme emphasized the importance of responsible journalism, ethical practices, and the impact of digital media on public discourse.

“Diverse voices from across the nation converged, enriching discussions and broadening perspectives. Mentorship from seasoned professionals played a crucial role in honing technical skills and instilling a sense of ethical responsibility. Fieldwork in various regions deepened understanding of the nation’s diversity and reinforced the power of journalism to effect meaningful change”.

Jalaluddin Mughal, an independent Journalist from NeelumValley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said. “I am part of the cohort of 40 journalists from all across Pakistan including Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, KP, GilgitBalochistan, and Azad Kashmir who attend the Second National Media Fellowship organized at CEJ in collaboration with NCSW and UNFPA. During this fellowship, we have learned about the issues of Gender-based violence, child marriages, and other related issues”.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2023

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