US based East West Center organised a workshop for Indian and Pakistani journalists on 5-9 September in Kathmandu with a focus on cross-border issues of mutual concern.
According to Susan Kreifels, East-West Center Media Program Manager who coordinates the cross-border journalism activities, "this collaboration is important to provide firsthand perspectives and information from both countries. Just as important as these stories are, the lifelong professional and personal relationships the neighbouring journalists develop. They continue to rely on each other as fact-checkers, collaborators and information sources through social media networking."
"Collaboration among journalists around the world is so important to future fact-checking and reporting, especially between countries that share a hostile border," Kreifels said. "These programs are among the most valuable media activities the Center offers."
Expert US and Asian media trainers led the sessions on best practices in reporting the workshop topic; cross-border collaboration techniques; multimedia skills and technology in the newsroom; data-base and investigative reporting; and other skills and issues.
The program was divided into four themes: Economy, trade and entrepreneurism; Environment, ecology, related science; Agriculture, food production, water-sharing and Health, related science. 10-10 selected journalists were invited from the neighbouring countries of India & Pakistan for each theme. The groups were further divided into teams of 2-2 journos from both countries. The cross-border teams mapped out their collaborative stories during the weeklong workshop.
Apart from Asian Voice's Nischal Sanghavi, some of the Indian journalists invited to attend the conference included Ashwini Srivastava, Asst. Editor, PTI-Delhi; George Kallivayalill, Bureau Chief, Deepika; Sukrut Karandikar; Abantika Ghosh, Senior Associate Editor, The Print; Laxmi Dev Aere, Asst Editor, PTI-Delhi among others.
Leading Pakistani print and TV journalists invited to the workshop includes Shiraz Hasnat, bureau chief, Hum News, Lahore; Zeeshan Javaid from News Today; Mian Saud Ahmed from Samaa TV; Tanveer Lehri, Chief Editor, Daily Sada Olas, Balochistan; Attiq Ahmad Sadozai from Kashmir, Pakistan; Sanam Junejo from Associated Press of Pakistan; IFJ's Pakistan Gender Co-ordinater Lubna Jerar Naqvi; Faiz Paracha from ProPakistani.pk; Muhammad Irtaza from Daily Business News among others.
The workshop also included a walking tour and field trips in and outside Kathmandu to relevant places where the journalists interviewed people and took stock of the on-field situation. The workshop organised at Kathmandu's Hotel Himalaya was followed by a tea-party with EWC alumni at Aranya Boutique Hotel. The workshop was moderated by Christina Monroe, Director, EWC Alumni Engagement.
The journalists who have returned to their home countries after completing the workshop, continue to collaborate with their team members and complete the cross-border story for publication or broadcast within the next three months. Stories would be published by journalist's news organizations and/or other media outlets and websites.
The East-West Center, a public non-profit organisation based out of Hawaii has been conducting these cross-border media programs between India and Pakistan since 2015 with 300 media alumni who have now participated and continue to network.