ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A four-day (December 7-10, 2023) Refresher Course of the Second National Media Fellowship (NMF) that is a collaborative effort made by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) commenced on Thursday in Islamabad.
The NMF is an innovative step aimed at addressing and raising awareness on the social issues of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and child marriages.
The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) with its collaborating partners initiated a media fellowship in 2022 to sensitize and train the journalists to report gender related issues with a gender lens.
In the first cycle of NMF, 37 journalists were trained on the theme and they produced 162 stories in addition to 2 documentaries related to GBV, Child marriages and impact of climate on women which were published in the leading media houses across the country.
In the second cycle of media fellowship, a cohort of 40 mid-career journalists coming across Pakistan will get specialized training.
They will be trained and sensitized on different aspects of reporting on these critical issues.
Initially they attended a 10-day training module at CEJ-IBA in September this year on the sensitive areas of GBV and Child marriage in Pakistan.
After the completion of this round, they will produce more than 180 stories focusing GBV, girls’ and women rights.
On the first day of refresher, while addressing the orientation session held at NCSW, the 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 journalists have sensitive responsibility when they are reporting or writing on these issues as multiple risk factor are attached particularly in our society keeping in view victim safety, her identity, self-respect and social status.
She said that the initiative was very close to her heart as she perceived it a right step in right direction to achieve gender equality and equal rights for women and girls in Pakistan.
In her concluding remarks, she further said that Child marriage is a deep-rooted issue across Pakistan, especially in rural areas, that takes away a child’s right to a safe and healthy childhood, quality education and have serious economic repercussions.
She added that her team would leave no stone unturned to curb this menace but this cannot be happened without media’s active and responsible participation and support.