Capacity Building of Journalists for use of RTI Laws

Workshop: Capacity Building of Journalists for use of RTI Laws
Date: May 24, 2022
Venue: Chakwal

Every citizen has the right to investigative journalism and access to information, but unfortunately, despite the existence of the laws on Access to Information in Pakistan, citizens and journalists find it difficult to get access to public information. Transparency International Pakistan Participants of the one-day training workshop organized by Transparency International Pakistan. The aim of the training is to raise the capacity building of the journalists for the use of RTI laws. The session was attended by 40 participants including 39 male and one female.

Deputy Commissioner Chakwal District Capt. (R) Bilal Bin Hashim, renowned Motivational Speaker and National Press Club Islamabad Former official Sadia Kamal, Secretary Chakwal Bar Association Chaudhry Atiqul Rasool, renowned journalist Ghulam Rabbani Chaudhry, Chaudhry Muhammad Yaseen and others attended the workshop and addressed with the gathering. In his speech, Muhammad Ali Awan District Reporter of AbTak News Channel, Chairman Tehsil Press Club Chakwal informed the participants about the aims and objectives of conducting this training workshop. He said that Right to Information is not new, but was introduced some 1400 years ago Islam, and we need to apply it to government agencies as well as media houses and other sectors to increase awareness in the country. He further said that we also need to protect the rights of minorities here which is very important in this growing intolerant society.

Leading motivational speaker and representative Ms. Saadia Kamal gave a detailed lecture to working journalists on the Right to Information Act, and its clauses and procedure to obtain information. She pointed out that a particular segment is against the RTI in Pakistan, which is not a surprise because these promote accountability and transparency. A good RTI laws requires to have maximum disclosure, a mechanism for citizens to obtain the information, restricted scope of exemption, no disincentive from expenses for citizens who seek to access information, and protection of whistle-blowers. However, even a very good RTI laws would be ineffective if it has weak implementation.

We need to discourage the social media copy paste trend, and instead, promote investigative journalism, said by Secretary Bar Association Chakwal Chaudhry Atiqul Rasool in his speech. He said that Right to Information laws were first introduced in Sweden in 1766, whereas in Pakistan the Supreme Court gave ruling in favour of RTI in 1993. He said that instead of just making a law, it should be implemented.

Working journalists from all over the district including Noman Farooq, Mukhtar Ahmed, Murtaza Anjum Malik from Chakwal, Mohsin Jafari, Muhammad Ali Awan, Mirza Sajid Iqbal, Tauqeer Anwar, Dr. Nazir Butt, Masood Kahut, Mehdi Hassan Shah, Malik Abid-ur-Rehman, Rafaqat Mahmood participated in the workshop. At the end of the workshop, certificates were distributed among the participants and a luncheon was also given in honor of the participants. Chief Patron Chaudhry Ghulam Rabbani thanked the participants, Speakers especially Transparency International administration for the successful organization of the training workshop.