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KARACHI: Social media has erased the line between truth and lies, and this in my view is extreme reporting. Where facts, reality are manufactured but only if you have sufficient manpower and resource, you can alter reality, said Federal Minister of Power Khurram Dastagir Khan at the keynote address on the second day of the two-day conference on ‘Extreme Reporting: Conflict and Peace in the Digital Age’ held at the Centre of Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA) on Sunday.

“Extreme reporting is an endeavour that requires bravery and strength and courage. If you look at Pakistan’s history there have been courageous men and women who have tried to express the truth and they have suffered for it.

For example, journalists have been shot in broad daylight, kidnapped and what not.

“But the media has failed to save the public from lies. It has put us in a difficult position. It might be an exaggeration to say so but this erasure of the line between truth and lies is endangering democracy worldwide.

But in this country, where democracy is a one leaf plant, is crushed every so often.

The media’s challenges are immense because there are certain truths that cannot be said in this country, and that is a fact. Just look at Balochistan…why are we not allowed to talk about its truth,” he added.

The federal minister touched upon the civil military relationship and how it impacts the economy, the 2018 elections.

As the conference concluded, the CEJ-IBA recognized and awarded journalists with the Peace Journalism awards which were a part of the Peace Journalism Program held by the CEJ in collaboration with US Consulate Karachi.

Speaking at the award ceremony, US Consul General Mark Stroh said: “It has been a really fascinating couple of days. The US is supporting this Centre and training because we are committed to supporting journalists in Pakistan. We are proud to support this training program at the CEJ-IBA. A strong professional press is important – especially in conflict – and it is through such trainings and conferences where journalists can play their role in shaping the discourse.”

The day ended with dinner and a musical performance by The Sketches.

The second day of the conference kicked off with a session on reporting from a conflict zone.

The panel discussed at length the dangers of reporting from a conflict zone and shared their personal experiences. They talked about the importance of safety trainings and mental health check-ins.

This conference is a part of the Peace Journalism program, held by the CEJ in collaboration with US Consulate Karachi that began in May 2021 and will conclude this month.

The program included online workshops on peace and conflict reporting, mobile journalism, data journalism, social media & photojournalism. The program also offered a mentorship with senior journalists.

Around 63 journalists from all over Pakistan were trained as a part of this program. The program was divided into trainings and mentorships. The theoretical, technical and optional trainings were conducted by journalists, editorial consultants, documentary filmmakers, editors and photojournalists.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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