Drawing inspiration from Daniel Pearl and Syed Saleem Shahzad – American and Pakistani journalists killed in the line of duty while covering a common war against terror in Pakistan – the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) have begun training 14 Pakistani journalists in conflict and investigative reporting as well as safety for journalists working in conflict-affected regions. Funding comes from the American Embassy Islamabad.
In Pakistan, the journalists have received a five-day journalistic training program and will receive a two-day safety and first aid training. After completion of these trainings, the best participant will be chosen for a 2012 U.S.-based Daniel Pearl reporting fellowship.
This training program will build a cadre of well-trained journalists able to safely conduct journalistic inquiries that uphold universal principles of transparency, good governance and accountability.
We seek $35,000 to partially support the U.S.-based Alfred Friendly-Daniel Pearl fellowship.
STATEMENT OF NEED
As a frontline country in the war against terrorism, Pakistan is a dangerous place to practice journalism. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2010, Pakistan had the highest number of journalist deaths in the world. Since January of this year, five journalists have been killed for their work, including Asia Times Online Pakistan Bureau Chief, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was abducted and killed in May, allegedly for his reporting on the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Pakistani military and intelligence operations. While the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan was investigated and some of the perpetrators were prosecuted, most attacks on journalists in Pakistan are not.
Standing at the fault lines of violent conflict, Pakistan is under tremendous pressures internally and externally, which means that its people need accurate information about how its institutions – governmental, economic, religious, educational – are functioning. And its press, in turn, needs help to develop the skills and standards so it can gather and distribute that information. Journalists also need safety and first aid training. Thus, the need for skilled, ethical and courageous reporting has never been greater in Pakistan than it is today.
In a June 11 op-ed piece in The New York Times, his 2008 Alfred Friendly-Daniel Pearl Fellowship host newsroom, Pakistani investigative reporter Umar Cheema called for a journalism training award to honor Syed Saleem Shahzad, much like the one he received in 2008 established by AFPF and the Daniel Pearl Foundation to honor Daniel Pearl. Together with Umar Cheema, other former Fellows, and with the support of the Daniel Pearl and Pakistan Press Foundations, we are taking up his call to provide training in Pakistan both on conflict and investigative reporting skills as well as safety for journalists.
The 14 participants (11 men and 3 women) have been recruited from Bajaur Agency, FATA, Lahore, Landikotal, Peshawar (3), Quetta (4), SWAT (3). The participants work for the following media outlets: Daily Express, Dunya TV, Express News, Express Tribune, GEO TV, Khyber News, The Nation, Nawa.i.waqt, The News, The News International, PACT radio, Radio Pakistan, Samaa TV and Urdutimes.com.
There are three components to the Daniel Pearl-Saleem Shahzad Media Training:
1. Five-day journalistic training that took place from October 9-13 in Karachi. Topics covered include:
- The watchdog role of the press and the responsibilities to neutrality, balance and accuracy
- Interviewing techniques to elicit information, even from hostile sources
- Techniques to gather and present information
- Establishing newsroom protocol for safety of those covering volatile environments
- How to psychologically and physically deal with threats including intimidation, arbitrary arrest, attacks, incommunicado detention, etc.
- Recognizing and dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Law and ethics
- Techniques of self-editing
- Using multiple platforms to distribute reports
- Local news gathering
2. Two-day first aid and safety training to take place before December 1. This is a mini hostile environment and first aid training (HEFAT) like that offered by Centurion and which many western media organizations provide to their correspondents prior to sending them into conflict-affected regions
3. Six month reporting fellowship in the United States to take place from mid-March through August, 2012. One journalist will be chosen to participate in the six-month reporting fellowship at a U.S. news organization. Training seminars will be offered at the beginning, middle and end of the fellowship. Additional opportunities include investigative reporting conferences and Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR) courses. Daniel Pearl Fellows will also work one week at a Jewish publication and participate in a public discussion, typically in Los Angeles where the Pearl family resides.
All 14 participants will receive the five day journalistic training and two day safety training. One of the participants will be chosen for a 2012 Daniel Pearl Fellowship in the United States. We are seeking $35,000 to partially support this U.S.-based fellowship.
Since 1983, the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships has trained journalists from countries where press freedom is challenged. Our alumni are well-respected journalists, and advocates for a professional press, in their own countries. Many attribute their success to what they learned, both professionally and personally, on their Alfred Friendly Fellowships. Our 12 Pakistani alumni are Anwar Iqbal, Mohammed Hanif, Qudssia Akhlaque, Fasih Ahmed, Ammara Durrani, Aoun Sahi, Shahzada Irfan Ahmed, Adnan Adil Zaidi, Masud Alam, Aatekah Mir, Shahid Shah and Umar Cheema—seven of whom are Daniel Pearl Fellows.
By drawing on our experience in training individual journalists, in recent years we have expanded our work to provide training outside the United States. Our dual approach reaches many more journalists than we otherwise would.
Along with the Pakistan Press Foundation and the U.S. Embassy, through this training, we seek to:
- Stimulate the journalists’ adherence to the highest ethical standards and practices
- Build a cadre of well-trained journalists able to conduct journalistic inquiries that uphold universal principles of transparency, good governance and accountability
- Increase and renew the enthusiasm of journalists for their important work
- Provide the tools, skills and knowledge to remain safe
- Build mutual understanding between the United States and Pakistan