Islamabad ( November 29, 2012): A public discussion on “reporters within borders: reporting in FATA under FCR” was held in Islamabad by a German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ). Journalists and civil society members from the seven agencies of FATA and FRs came to participate in the discussion.
Senator Farhatullah Babar, advisor to the President, Akhwandzada Chattan, MNA from Bajaur, Mirza Mohammad Jihadi , advisor to President FATA affairs were among the panelists. Renowned journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai moderated the discussion.
Several parliamentarians and journalists from FATA were present and discussed openly about the reforms required in their region. The audience of more than 200 asked many questions, mostly about the FCR and the role of the current government. Advisor to the President, Farhatullah Babar assured that political reforms will be implemented in FATA.
Farhatullah Babar also promised to personally follow up on the assassination of FATA journalist Hayatullah in the Senate. “We will ask why the commission’s report hasn’t been made public.” He further said that the families of slain journalists should receive compensation from the state, similar to a police constable.
The resident director of FES, Philipp Kauppert gave an introductory speech and announced that FES gave its highest award to the TUJ this year. He said, “The Human Rights Award has been bestowed on the TUJ in recognition of its support for persecuted journalists and media suppression in the Tribal Areas. The TUJ exemplifies the courage of local journalists who, at the risk of their lives, provide the outside world with crucial background information from the “black box” of the Afghan-Pakistani border region.”
A documentary made on the security of journalists “theater of conflict: reporting from FATA” was also screened for the first time in Pakistan. It is the first visual documentation about the security of journalists in FATA. The documentary shows the struggle of the local journalists who work in the field and face the harsh realities of reporting every day. This documentary was first screened in Berlin in October. It is directed by Qurratulain Zaman & Taha Sidddiqui. The director said, “It was not easy for us to travel and shoot the documentary in FATA. We had to be careful about our crew and also about the people we interviewed. We are very happy that we are able to show the world the realities of local journalists in FATA. “