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KARACHI: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that his government will, with the help of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), clear all outstanding dues of women languishing in jail so that they could be set free as soon as possible.

He said that the government has to recognise the problems and challenges being faced by women prisoners in Sindh and take action to help them.

Ismail was speaking at the inaugural session of the National Media Fellowship being held in Karachi on Thursday to train journalists from all over Pakistan on how to report on Gender Based Violence. At least 35 media persons are attending this workshop organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with UNFPA and the Centre for Excellence in Journalism.

Ismail told his audience, comprising journalists, members of the NCSW, women rights activists as well as students of media that it was the priority of his government to focus on helping women get justice. “It should be our target to reach out to the victims of violence,” the Sindh Governor commented in his keynote speech.

Welcoming the Sindh Governor, the chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), Nilofar Bakhtiar explained to the audience the importance of launching a media fellowship to train journalists on how to report on incidents of violence against women. Talking about the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, Bakhtiar said that it was important to remember how women continued to be victims of violence in Pakistan and the world over.

“This day is dedicated to the unnamed acid attack survivors, the bruised women with broken teeth and young girls outside who don’t know we are here today for this cause,” Bakhtiar told her audience.

In his welcome address, Arif Anwar Baloch, secretary of the NCSW said that the whole process of selecting journalists to attend the National Media Fellowship was done keeping in mind the fact that media persons from all over the country were included in the exercise.

“We made sure we selected some of the best journalists in the country who write on this topic,” said Baloch.

UNFPA Resident Representative Dr Bakhtior Kadirov in his speech said, “We encourage journalists to create public awareness on GBV and child marriage issues that are crucial for development.”

“We believe in the power of media to bring about a tipping point in our endeavours to end GBV & harmful practices,” he added.

Giving a presentation on the need for such a training, leader trainer Kamal Siddiqi said that the Media Fellowship was designed in such a way that the use of language, images and the manner in which survivors were interviewed would be discussed with the participants.

Shabana Arif, co-trainer National Media Fellowship, also talked about the media training program under the Fellowship. She said that the programme had been designed so that practical training was given preference for participants.

In her speech, Chairperson Sindh CSW Nuzhat Shireen told her audience that everyone at the federal and provincial level will have to unite if we want to end violence against women.

In her closing remarks, CEJ acting director Ayesha Azhar Shah informed that the CEJ believes the media have a key responsibility to ensure women have a voice. “Our media is not trained on how to report on violence against women. Through this fellowship we aim to train journalists,” she said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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