News Lab training for KP journalists, Interactive Theatre plays help masses to access security and justice

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By Haq Nawaz

PESHAWAR: Aitebaar’s innovative initiative in collaboration with the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the University of Peshawar has wrapped up this week after imparting training to 75 journalists on contemporary reporting practices and organized 18 Interactive theatre.
The aim of the project was to develop understanding of security and justice issues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to provide communities with information about services they are entitled too.
Five six-week NewsLab for media persons were conducted and 18 Interactive Theatre performances were held in key districts including Nowshera Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi and Peshawar.
The theme of the project was aimed at creating awearness for understanding Security and Justice among the masses in the province.
The NewsLab workshops focused on training for journalists from print, TV, radio and alternate online outlets. Participants were trained in contemporary reporting practices in an innovative training Lab which focused on practical learning and production, as well as understanding the Pakistan legal framework and Security and Justice issues in the province.
Experts from different fields attended the NewsLab as guest speakers including senior officers from the police department, media organizations, government and representatives of civil society. Trainees visited model police stations, Police lines and different media outlets to learn about on the ground realties and challenges.
Dr Altafullah Khan Chairman of the Journalism and Mass Communications Department at UoP said about the project “The Newslabs focused on newsroom culture, including peer review and editorial debate. This was a vital new component in capacity building for journalists.
The focus on security and justice included special emphasis on bringing police officers in direct contact with the trainees. This was significant in bridging the communication gap between civil servants and journalists, enabling journalists to better understand government perspectives.”
The interactive theatre program focused on building the skills of performers and engaging the public around sometimes very sensitive issues related to justice issues in KP.
On the other hand, interactive theatre covered issues as diverse as Gender Based Violence, access to justice, drug use, aerial firing, harassment and child sexual assault.
Feedback from audiences has been hugely positive. One female attendee, Samia Zafar, 28, said “This project effectively uses live theatre as a platform to promote a public understanding of human rights under Pakistani law and a vehicle for community dialogue. Theatre is a way for youth who want to bring positive change to work with communities to find solutions to problems.”
The project is very proud to have reached over three thousand local KP people and published over 400 news stories. Aitebaar is a 4 year UK-aid funded programme, implemented in collaboration with the KP Government, aimed at strengthening trust between citizens and government in the Security and Justice Sector. The programme works with government and policy makers to initiate reforms in the processes, procedures and law to improve the quality of provision of service in the security and justice sector of KP.
Trained journalists including Haq Nawaz, Kamran Gul and Asif Ali lauded the trainers Bushra Iqbal and Grace Jones for imparting them innovative techniques for developing news stories covering security and justice angles and providing legal structure background of issues and matters of human interest.