30 March, 2011

Child friendly newspaper awarded for creating awareness on CSA

Child sexual abuse – Not tolerable at all
Published in Pakistan Observer (30 Mar. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Child sexual abuse is a public health epidemic inflicting long-term serious health effects on its victims, destroying individuals and families. Yet it's largely ignored in our society.
However, a part of society which is continually working to create awareness regarding Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) also needs appreciation. To appreciate hard work and dedication of newspapers, volunteers and students on CSA issues, Sahil (NGO) held an award ceremony at a local hotel in Islamabad on Monday.

Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, advisor to Prime Minister and His Excellency Robert Kvile, Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan were the chief guests on the occasion.

The award for Child Friendly Newspaper in national category went to Daily Khabrein (Multan) which published 326 CSA news reports, Daily Waqt (Lahore) received the award in Regional category with 348 reports while Daily Sobh Karachi with 250 reports won award for local newspaper. ‘Best Volunteer Award’ went to Abdul Latif Zafar of Bahawalnagar. Students were also bestowed awards for making two short documentaries, one on ‘Bullying’ and other on ‘Poverty’.

Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali appreciated the role of young students and Sahil in “highlighting a social evil which is often fuelled by public silence in a society like ours.” She added that “we must no longer remain silent” on CSA issues.

Mr. Kvile believed that Pakistan is a country having a wide gap of “haves and have-nots” however he was of the view that “media can help in shaping the positive attitude” in public regarding CSA.

A research report titled ‘Cruel Numbers 2010 report’ by Sahil (NGO) was also launched which revealed that a total of 2252 children were sexually abused throughout Pakistan during Jan. - Dec. 2010. The report has been published after monitoring 66 newspapers of Pakistan.

01 March, 2011

‘We Can’ launches Report on Social Trend on VAW

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: ‘We Can’ campaign in Pakistan launched two critical documents: ‘Impact Assessment Report’ and ‘Strategy Paper’ on Tuesday at a local hotel in Islamabad after completing its six years in March 2011. The campaign dedicated these two significant documents to International Women’s Day (IWD) as March 2011 also marks 100 years of IWD.

The objective of the report was to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women (VAW) in Pakistan. And the key findings of the ‘Impact Assessment Report’ indicate that “a very high percentage of Pakistanis i.e. 86% feel that VAW in any form is wrong; 97% feel that husband and wife should take major decisions together while 90% feel that men should share housework as it is the responsibility of both husband and wife - which signifies that no change is small” informed Amna Qadir, the author of the report.

Speaking on the occasion, Neva Khan, Country dir. Oxfam GB said that “We Can Campaign has successfully generated over 350,000 Change makers across 41 districts in Pakistan inculcating awareness on gender equalities with positive shifts in paradigms towards all forms of violence against women.”

The report defines a change maker as one who “commits to personal and to talk to 10 other people about VAW” and indicates that 85% of the circle of influence feel that they are change makers.

Dr. Noreen Khalid (Manager EVAW and Gils Education) “With the help of these change makers, millions of people have been enabled to address violence in their homes and other spheres of life.”

Seeking Free and Responsible Media

Published in Pakistan Observer (1 Mar. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Media plays a vital role in the development of a society, however media must undergo its own self-improvement processes before it can contribute to constant evolution of society. This was the crux of the training workshop on ‘Free, Independent and Responsible Media (FIRM)’ in which the participants called for “free and responsible Pakistani media.”

The interactive discussion including print and electronic journalists was organized by Individual-land-Pakistan (IL), an NGO in collaboration with Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Islamabad on Tuesday. The workshop was based on a “Handbook on and for FIRM” developed by IL-Pakistan after consultations with various journalists across the country, from last year’s workshops and is intended to serve as guidebook for a FIRM media, told Shahukat Ali Ashraf, Co-ordinator of IL.

The participants at the training determined to act more responsibly and believed that “the smarter the journalists are, the better off society is.”

The key issues under discussion included responsibilities of journalists, ethical standards of journalism, steps to improve standards of journalism in Pakistan, regulation of media
and ways to create linkages of general public with media.

The participants at the workshop noted that though media helps us in understanding the world around us but at the same time, media faces issues including government influence, biases in media houses, market forces. “And this is precisely the idea behind FIRM which focuses on the internal as well as external issues journalists face in the line of duty” informed IL representative.

IL-Pakistan is an NGO actively engaged with the Pakistani media on training of print, radio and electronic media personnel on civic issues as well as using media as anally for change. Presently, Individual-land Pakistan is involved in a national initiative to create public awareness of freedom of information through the use of radio and online media tools for its advocacy and consulting work.