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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pakistan's First Journalism Awards ceremony held today at Islamabad

Pakistan to have its First Journalism Awards - AGAHI Awards 2012 Shaping the Future of Journalism.The AGAHI Awards 2012 to be held today at the Pak-China Friendship Center in Islamabad. Journalists from all over Pakistan join the AGAHI initiative to contribute in “Shaping the Future of Journalism”, through investigative journalism and responsible reporting.

Pakistan’s first-ever journalism awards are being organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with the leading Press Clubs across the country, local and international media development bodies, regulatory authorities, private sector and other stakeholders. The AGAHI Awards have been termed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan as an important initiative towards improving the state of journalism in Pakistan.
Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer for Mishal Pakistan and a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum, shared his views on the Awards as “the AGAHI initiative is about increasing the capacity of Investigative Journalism and Responsible Reporting – which aims to use institutionalized sustainable media structures in Pakistan to raise the bar of journalistic standards”. He further said “the initiative is carried out in collaboration with the press clubs and journalists’ associations, whereby the journalist community is being encouraged to undertake the responsibility of creating such initiatives on their own”.
Pakistan lost hundreds of journalists since its inception in 1947, however the trend has been on increase since 2004, when media in Pakistan was deregulated and it saw a mushroom growth of the number of media outlets. Puruesh Chaudhary, Ambassador to Pakistan from the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME), said that “due to the lack professional trainings and capacity building opportunities, journalism in Pakistan has been confined to a few issues coming to public debate, that too at times falls short on the ethical benchmarks”.According to a survey conducted by Mishal Pakistan, the Pakistani media was perceived by the viewers to be indulging in sensationalism and unwittingly supporting the violent extremist ideologies of non-state actors operating in the region. Wajahat Ali, Media and Security Analyst, highlights the research in the context of the journalists’ lack of understanding and capacity constraints towards producing counter narrative on issues of regional and transnational security.
The Agahi Awards will be creating inspiration and appreciation for journalist in fifteen different categories including business, economy, conflict, corruption, crime, education, infotainment, the nexus between water, energy and food security, gender and governance. In addition issues like human rights, interfaith, judiciary, media ethics, terrorism and extremism have also been included to create more media space for social issues impacting the society at large, thus creating media diversity across print, television, radio and online media.
The Awards have two special categories on "Current Affairs Anchor of the Year" and "News Channel of the Year" in Pakistan. Both these categories are on the basis of people’s choice, which includes voting for the these two categories by reaching out to more than 6 million stakeholders in Pakistan via social media engagement, SMS and direct feedback.
The AGAHI Awards 2012 has been able to engage organizations such as the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) based out of Brussels and USA, BBC College of Journalism in UK, Media Helping Media from the United Kingdom and Devex in addition to the Press Clubs across Pakistan.
Established in 2003, as a social enterprise, Mishal has been engaged with some of the most dynamic organizations, including media enterprises and global development agencies helping them bridge the communication gaps for better understanding and creating synergies amongst the stakeholders.
Mishal is at the forefront of devising and delivering communication solutions for a cross-section of stakeholders and is actively pursuing and supporting initiatives to improve the state of media and journalism in Pakistan. The core team of Mishal has developed and managed media entities and broadcast content for the last 20 years at various platforms and for leading national and international organizations. The next level for Mishal is to actively pursue identified initiatives to build the capacity of media in Pakistan and benchmark Pakistan’s media with international standards. Such initiatives will enable equal opportunities for media professionals in primary and secondary targets and also help them develop better understanding of the issues in global perspective.
Mishal has undertaken the task to build the capacity of press cubs and journalist associations in Pakistan by creating a learning platform for the media and journalists across the country. The initiative is building the capacity of the press clubs and journalists through interactive workshops, conferences, collaborative thinking and knowledge sharing. It is also focusing on improving the competitiveness of the media by creating competition amongst the various verticals of through media and journalism awards for the professionals in the field of communications by creating a national knowledge grid.


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