The National Council of Environmental Journalists—NCEJ is a national level forum of Pakistani environmental journalists, which is struggling to increased coverage of environmental issues of Pakistan. Having more than 60 journalists across Pakistan, NCEJ often arrange trainings for its member journalists so that they can understand technical subject like environment.
From February to June 2014 NCEJ initiated “Environmental Journalism Taking Root” a small project in collaboration with Internews-Europe and Earth Journalism Network, to build off NCEJ’s earlier work with Internews Europe revolving around flood recovery. Under that project, from February to August 2014, NCEJ planned to take around 20 to 25 new members onboard and hold a series of eight to ten workshops across Pakistan. It was planned to cover floods glacial melt, climate change and deforestation.
A series of classrooms sessions and field trainings were conducted across different cities of Pakistan which includes Karachi, Multan, Mardan, Quetta and Tando Mohammad Khan. These trainings were conducted by senior environmental journalist, journalist trainer and NCEJ president Amar Guriro, who travelled to different cities to conduct the classroom and field trainings.
In a small town of Tando Muhammad Khan, in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, some 200 kilometers from Karachi NCEJ selected a total of seven members’ four new members for its training and also invited three exisiting members to attend the session held in Tando Mohammad Khan press club.
For the field training the journalists of the town were first taken to Sonpari Lake followed by district government offices and Moolchand Forest.
In the next phase of the sessions around 12 journalists were selected from Karachi, where most of the media houses of Pakistani media located, including seven journalists who were selected after a detailed scrutiny and were made NCEJ’s new member. Also NCEJ’s five senior members were mixed with the newly selected members, so that they may share their experiences with new member journalists.
For the field training NCEJ selected 12 members who were taken to Karachi’s historical fishermen settlement Ibrahim Hydri, located some 15 kilometers from city center in the outskirts of city, just on the edges of Arabian Sea. Five different experts were invited to deliver presentations and create awareness on the environmental issues like climate change, glacial melt etc.
For Lahore Classroom session NCEJ selected four new members who were taken to Lahore and then hold its field training in which they were taught different techniques and methods on how they can deliver good piece to camera.
After this around 5 new journalists were selected from a Quetta, which is the most dangerous city of Pakistan for the journalists. Mixed with two of NCEJ’s senior members the slot of seven journalists was invited to attend the classroom session in the Quetta city. Four experts on environment and climate change were invited for the classroom session for the journalists.
For the field training the journalists were taken to Sabzall on Spini Road in Quetta city so that they can see how vegetables are grown on sewerage water. Sabzall Colony is located in outskirts of Quetta city where farmers are growing vegetables with sewerage water. Later on, they were taken to railway colony near Shahbaz Town and Hanna lake , some 20 km away from Quetta city in the Urak Valley and the nearest major water reservoir in Quetta, which is now suffering with reducing snowfall and also the rainfall and then to Ziarat.
Then NCEJ conducted another classroom session for its newly selected journalists in Mardan city of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province. After this session for the training these journalists were taken to a small village Ghala Dher of the smallest administrative unit—the union council of Sokai kalay, some 12 kilometers away from Mardan city.
After holding a series of sessions and field trainings NCEJ conducted classroom session for newly selected member journalists in Multan city of Punjab province. After a detailed checking the NCEJ’s scrutiny committee selected five journalists of mainstream national media from Multan city, including Irfan Malik of Radio Pakistan, Farooq Rana of ARY News , Shakeel Ahmed of Dawn, Iftikhar Hassan, anchorperson of Pakistan Television (PTV) and Fakhar Ud Din Sial of Daily Khabrain.
These trainings resulted a good impact on the journalists and all the videos and photos were being posted to different social media to create awareness amongst the public related to environmental journalism.