Karachi: The Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) – Institute of Business Administration (IBA), in collaboration with the Razia Bhatti Memorial Initiative Committee inaugurated the Razia Bhatti seminar room.
The lecture hall, located at the CEJ, Aman tower, IBA city campus, has been dedicated to the memory of Razia Bhatti, a veteran journalist who founded the Newsline magazine in 1989, after years of working at the Herald monthly magazine.
The Director of IBA-CEJ, Kamal Siddiqi, in his opening remarks, recalled a time when he had worked with Razia Bhatti. He commented about his experience, saying, “Razia was a beacon for all of us. She worked with full dedication. I never saw her excited or scared when covering a story.” He added that the work Razia and Newsline magazine have done over the years will never fade away.
Mr. Siddiqi thanked Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Executive Director IBA, Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Dean, IBA Board of Governors, Ms Malahat Awan, Head of Alumni Relations, Graduate Placement, Resource Mobilization & External Relations, Aman Foundation’s Ahmed Jalal and Umber Khairi and members of the Razia Bhatti Memorial Initiative Committee, who initiated the idea for dedicating a room for Bhatti.
Dr. Baqai lauded Razia Bhatti for the work she did at a time when the media was going through an era of suppression. “Mass communication is extremely important but you need to keep the true spirit of journalism alive and this is what the Centre for Excellence in Journalism is doing and this was what Razia was all about. I’m happy that IBA has dedicated this room to Razia. She fought back in a country that is not nice to women or journalists,” she said.
Umber Khairi, a member of the Razia Bhatti Memorial Initiative committee, recalled Razia’s role as an editor and how she launched Newsline after she was forced to resign from Herald due to editorial pressures.
“It’s a wonderful day not only for Razia’s family, friends, CEJ and IBA but also for drafting the mission of journalism as we are paying tribute to someone who was very keen in this profession. Her passion, commitment and courage as an editor inspired her colleagues,” Khairi said. She praised Razia, saying she was a person who led from the front without seeking the limelight.
In his concluding remarks, Dawn editor Zaffar Abbas said that, even at a time when the media was under censorship, Razia was one of the persons who still worked fearlessly. He said, “I never had the opportunity to work directly under her, which was a bit unfortunate. However, whenever I asked her for help she was always ready to help me edit my work.”
Later, Razia Bhatti’s daughter, Sara Bhatti, unveiled a plaque detailing the life of Razia Bhatti.
During the session, a Razia Bhatti gold medal for investigative journalism was also announced for the graduating Masters of Science in Journalism class at the IBA. Newsline also committed to providing a long-term internship to CEJ students.