Pakistani journalists now have access to world-class training

Karachi:February 28:The Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) has finally started its full-fledged operations at the Institute of Business Administration’s city campus with state-of-the-art television, production and multimedia laboratories for working journalists to train in.

The single largest public diplomacy investment of the US State Department in Pakistan worth $4 million and implemented as a joint venture of the IBA, the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University, and the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) was inaugurated on Saturday by US Ambassador David Hale.

The ambassador was accompanied by US Consul General in Karachi Brian Heath, IBA dean and director Dr Ishrat Hussain, ICFJ vice president programmes Patrick Butler, Medill professor Craig Duff and members of the CEJ at the IBA governing board.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Hale said he spoke on behalf of all those in the US when saying that residents and those at the helm of affairs of the most powerful country in the world were in awe of the risks and challenges faced by Pakistani journalists and the sacrifices they had made for the freedom of media.

The ambassador said he had been struck with the incredible diversity and limitless energy of the people of Pakistan, especially the good sense of the Pakistani youth.

He said the people of Pakistan had braved adverse times and on various occasions demonstrated their resilience of spirit.

This was why, he added, the sacrifices rendered for the freedom of press in Pakistan deserved the utmost respect and the US had decided to help journalists by investing in the single largest public diplomacy project worth $4 million in the form of the CEJ.

“A free and impartial press is the cornerstone of democracy,” he remarked.

“Balance and accuracy translate directly into reform and change. This is why the CEJ will not just transform the media industry in Pakistan but also the lives of the common people of the country.”

Patrick Butler, the ICFJ vice president, shared that when he had first arrived in Pakistan, members of the journalist community had apprised him of the dire need of top-notch education for media professionals.

“Five years down the road, we have delivered on that promise,” he said. “So far we have trained more than 200 journalists in different media organisations of Pakistan from basic reporting to data journalism. Soon, the Centre will begin a masters’ programme in journalism, to equip working journalists with the expertise and skills to compete internationally.”

Christie Marie Lauder, the acting director of the CEJ, thanked the US ambassador, the US consul general, the IBA dean and director, and her colleagues who had helped make the project a success and shared her experience of working with Pakistani media professionals.The news.