ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peace Collective (PPC), a research and communication project of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), organised a consultative session for developing a three credit hours’ course, titled, “Conflict Coverage and Crisis Communication”, for the Masters and graduation level students of Mass Communication and media studies departments of various universities.
The first consultative session, held at the HEC office, was attended by more than 30 experts representing the academia, government and media circles. The experts delivered their professional, technical and subject related input in accordance with their knowledge and experience.
HEC Chairman Mukhtar Ahmed, PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Counter Violence and Extremism Director General Marium Khan graced the consultative session and presented their views on the subject.
While appreciating the initiative, Mukhtar Ahmed expressed confidence that the proposed course would ensure the required support to fulfill the needs of knowledge development on critical thinking, emotional intelligence, peace building and sensitisation on conflict reporting.
He said it was our duty as journalists to report as accurately and responsibly as possible on this issue. We cannot use our platforms to glorify, sensationalise or traumatize audience, since the words we used and the images we showed left a big impact on viewers/readers thinking, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Absar Alam said also said that we do not want to further the aims of the terrorists by terrorising the people through the images we show.
Addressing participants, Marium Khan said that national consultation brought people on board from the industries.
She said this was also one of the mandated tasks of the nascent NACTA to develop course on conflict coverage and crisis communication that would eventually benefit the national narrative to be presented to the federal government.
The representatives from universities of Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh, Peshawar, International Islamic University, University of Central Punjab, Karachi University, Federal Urdu University Karachi, University of Sargodha, and Lahore College of Women University have incorporated their recommendation for curriculum. Representatives from mainstream TV channels like Geo, Neo, Samaa, Pakistan Television News and other senior journalists also attended the event.
This consultation would resultantly help in developing a holistic view of conflicts and violence in the society, and educate the students on means and methods to reflect the same through various mediums of communication, including formal media. The three credit hours’ course would help to sensitise the Pakistani students on issues concerning violence and crises, including those resulting out of extremist tendencies.
It would expectantly provide the students with the national and international perspective on the subject. The consultative process was also aimed to foster the integration of the course in the revised curriculum of ‘Mass Communication and Media Studies for all the universities in Pakistan.