Humanitarian reporting workshop held at CEJ-IBA

Karachi August 7, 2018: A two-day-long workshop on Humanitarian Reporting for journalists concluded at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism –Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA) on Tuesday. Twenty-three journalists belonging to media organizations from across the country participated in the training, which was held in collaboration with the International Committee for the Red Cross. The trainer for this course was Mahim Maher, editor of Samaa Digital.

The workshop covered different ways in which the media can report on humanitarian crises while upholding the code of journalism ethics. Guest speakers humanitarian Faisal Edhi, architect Arif Belgaumi and JPMC Executive Director Dr. Seemin Jamali also spoke to the participants about media coverage of mass casualties’ incidents.

Dr. Jamali shared her insight on how hospitals respond to mass medical crises such as attacks or natural disasters and how media should cover such events. Dr Jamali shared her experiences of dealing with trauma cases at the hospital. She recalled the time when an armed person walked into the hospital and opened fire at a gunshot victim. On media coverage, Dr Jamali urged journalists to respect the privacy of patients and to allow doctors time to treat the patients before demanding information from them.

Architect Arif Belgaumi spoke on how infrastructure is damaged after a disaster. He explained the factors that increase the risk of natural disasters, including climate change, density of populations and lack of proper drainage. “You can have all the laws of the world but till the time you don’t implement them they are of no use,” he said.

Belgaumi added that there is no system of checking what kind of material is being used in local constructions, which increases the risks of faulty buildings that could collapse in times of natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

“Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings kill people,” said Belgaumi. “After a disaster takes place, the real challenge is not just to build back but build better.” He added reconstructions should involve indigenously-sourced materials and traditional construction technologies. According to him, over the past 20 years, things have really improved in the architecture industry in terms of adhering to standards and using good quality materials.

Humanitarian Faisal Edhi spoke about how first-responders work, rescue missions and relief work take place disaster-hit areas, and the factors media personnel should be aware of when interacting with rescue officials and victims.

CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi distributed certificates among the participating journalists.