CPNE-UNDP Media Training Decentralized Development Governance Strengthening Participatory Federalism and Decentralization (SPFD)
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) established in 1957 registered under Societies Act with a mission to promote and protect democratic rights, particularly press freedom, freedom of expression, the right to information and right to know with special emphasis on ethical practices and responsible journalism. Being the sole representative platform of professional editors in the Country, CPNE has been mobilizing editors’ community and consistently engaging with Government of Pakistan, all provincial governments, representative bodies and autonomous institutions for its objectives.
UNDP ,using its rich global and regional experiences in federalism, decentralization and local governance to work closely with different tiers of government turns a new chapter in strengthening democratic governance at the local and provincial level in Pakistan after historical 18th Amendment in the constitution through The Strengthening Participatory Federalism and Decentralization (SPFD) Project.
CPNE entered into a Partnership with UNDP SPFD for capacity building and enhancement of media practitioners on decentralized governance, constitutional and development reporting.
The objective of this training is to develop and deepen the understanding of reporting and editorial staff on issues related to decentralized development governance in Pakistan.
The project is to develop media curriculum and then trained media persons on national level.
Its Goal to improve the frequency and quality of reporting, analysis and editorial appreciation of issues related to the transition management of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. This will inform the process of implementation of the Amendment with a focus on effective service delivery at the grassroots level.
For achieving the above objectives, CPNE established media curriculum for five thematic sessions by distinguished consultants, this curriculum is also recognized by HEC and declared that it will introduce in media universities as subject. CPNE arranged successfully 4 media training programs, for media practitioners one at each provincial capital as Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Quetta.
All the designed activities were carried out and targets successfully accomplished.
CPNE has decades of experience in launching and managing initiatives similar to the Strengthening Participatory Federalism and Decentralization (SPFD) Project. It has previously organized several capacity-building workshops for media, run advocacy campaigns through its network of media professionals, organized awareness campaigns and monitored the performance of government departments.
It has also organized a great number of conferences, workshops, trainings, and interactive sessions for the capacity building of the editors and journalist’s community as well as for playing its due role for the sake of democracy, press freedom and other civil liberties in the country.
2.2 Aim & Objectives of the Project
The aim of the project was to educate, trained and enhanced media practitioners on constitutional and development reporting.
The objective of this training is to develop and deepen the understanding of reporting and editorial staff on issues related to decentralized development governance in Pakistan. Particularly, the Project is expected improve the frequency and quality of reporting, analysis and editorial appreciation of issues related to the transition management of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
This will inform the process of implementation of the Amendment with a focus on effective service delivery at the grassroots level.
2.3 Importance of 18th constitutional amendment
In the context of 18th constitutional amendment, decentralization and devolution of power, these training/conferences have been very essential in the various dimensions. Currently the constitution is not only the rules of governance or relationship between government and citizen but also uses as a tool for crisis management. The 18th constitutional amendment is merely a historical millstone in the democratic history of Pakistan, which is amended on April 2010 unanimously.
This amendment has changed the whole architecture of governance. It was so impactful that by only this amendment, 102 articles out of 280 articles changed either added some clauses or reviewed articles. According to the amendment:
- Redefine the relationship among the capital and provinces (devolution of power) and a devolution plan developed for the transformation of power to provinces and 17 federal ministries have been dissolved and more than 100 government departments transferred to provincial governments.
- The provinces have equal rights and control over provincial natural resources.
- The social sector governance is the responsibility of the provinces and all policy reforms is now provincial matter.
- Establishment of local government is compulsory according to 140-A by provincial governments.
The mentioned changes or amendments are very vital and it affects governance and administrative structure.
2.4 Transportation of information
Due to the role of media as watchdog, whistleblower and safeguard in the society, media is a vehicle for transportation of information. Media can also point out malpractices or corruptions in the government departments. Awareness about 18th constitutional amendment is important for common citizen but for media it is very crucial in this regard. Well aware media can impact widely and the benefits could be enhanced. There are some benefits;
- Better/positive public awareness
- Identification of malpractices after 18th constitutional amendment.
- Identification of hurdles and barriers in the implementation of 18th constitutional amendment.
- Appropriate/authentic reporting.
- Remove confusion about control over resources.
- To obtain possible positive outcomes, there is need to organize training/awareness campaigns for journalists and editors at larger scale.
- Through this media training, media can play the front man role in the struggle of effective implementation of 18th amendment with its true spirit.
- Through this training, the capacity of editors and journalists enhanced and now they are able to perform their duties as well informed professionals.
- They also play the role of catalyst to promote the true benefits of 18th constitutional amendment to the common people by writing and speaking.
- These training events considered as training of trainers, means the editors and journalists will play the role of trainers for the capacity building of common citizen which would increase day by day. Therefore, the real benefits of the training events will penetrate at the grass root level by writing, screening and radio which is the core purpose of the project.
Since CPNE organized these Training Workshops in collaboration with UNDP, there were some challenges that causes certain delay in organizing training . The following points have been noted as challenges:
- Law and order situation and current terrorism weave obstructed CPNE to organize event as per scheduled.
- It is perception that journalists and editors would not participate in training/conferences because it was an assumption that they are well aware about 18th constitutional amendment.
- Due to limitation of project focus, number of requests received about training in their respective districts could not accommodate.
- Due to project limitation and constraint, CPNE could not accommodate newsroom, special beats reporters, city desk editors and desk staff and local level journalists in this training despite of their dire need and demand.
- There is need to share baseline and end line analytical reports that enhance experience and also gauge the acquisition of knowledge they acquired after the training.
- On some occasion it feels and advised that manual needs more focus on the topic regarding media and more elaboration and examples about 18th constitutional amendments so participants understand well.
Due to stronger position of CPNE as the only association of editors, some of the challenges have been overcome and a greater number of participants accommodated in the trainings. However, some of the challenges may not be addressed due to project limitation and budget.
4. Way forward
The participants’ feedback was very encouraging and appreciative. The main response and assessment of participants and other media practitioners is almost the same at all workshops that there should be more training about decentralization, 18th Amendment and its implementation.
The 18th constitutional amendment has been implemented since years, but it clearly realized that there was huge need for training/orientation for the media persons and general public too about the subject. It makes trainings much obligatory and needed that we can’t accommodate all the requests.
There are some recommendations and lessons learnt for the way forward:
- This project needs to organize trainings in district press clubs that reduce cost and increase journalist’s participation.
- Training’s must be organized in small districts also on local level that increased greater impact and enhance effectiveness.
- For success and measurable outcome to achieve the goal of public awareness, there is need to focus on writers, columnists, reports, desk editors and other related staff for training/awareness and orientation.
- A special website would be developed and created social media pages under this media project, as a result activities convert into a campaign and controlled by CPNE secretariat.
- As an outcome, the effective participation of media houses and newspapers will be ensured.
- Besides training, there is need to develop trained journalist’s and editors’ network for the sustainability of the project. The network will be responsible to continue awareness raising activities.
- The project activities and awareness seminars must be covered universities and media houses to ensure new staff get trained about the subject (18th constitutional amendment) while in universities this project will address future journalists and editors for an effective roles that reflect in their reporting and writings.
- The students may create an action group for writing stories and reports related to decentralization, 18th constitutional amendment and its implementation.
Under the CPNE and UNDP media training project it was the first training series ever organized for journalists and editors regarding 18th Amendment and its implementation.
Its proceeding, contents, quality of manual has been appreciated by journalists, editors, academia, civil society and other stakeholders including government.
In Lahore, The Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif was quoted that due to this training/conference I understood clearly about the 18th constitutional amendment and the reason about the establishment of provincial Higher Education Commission (HEC). He also ensured to support HEC in all aspect.
In Peshawar, The Chief Minister Parviz Khatak said “devolution power granted to the provinces by 18th constitutional amendment open new avenues to settle number of issues with federal”. Later he took the electricity royalty issues to federal government. It is just because of clear understanding of 18th constitutional amendment.
Same remarks and feed backs given by Baluchistan Chief minister and Sindh government officials.
The manual developed for CPNE and UNDP training project in the context of 18th constitutional amendment covered five thematic areas which are given below:
- Constitutional Architecture of Governance in Pakistan: Tiers, Sectors and Actors.
- Development Governance in Pakistan: Institutions, Instruments and Accountabilities.
- Media Democracy in Pakistan: Issues and Options.
- Media and Devolution: Context, Concerns and Convergence.
- Development and Disaster Reporting: Concepts and Methodologies.
To develop this manual / materials experienced and experts have been consulted including the architecture of this 18th constitutional amendment Mr. Raza Rabani, Mr. Zagham Khan, Mr. Ahmed Zahid Mehmood, Mr. Mazhar Arif, Mr. Shiraz Paracha and Ms. Noreen Hyder. Secretary General CPNE Dr. Jabbar Khattak benevolences his expert opinion and shared knowledge with the participants as well.
The final draft was reviewed by HEC and also it was decided that after this training, the manual will be part of the syllabus in the universities.
These three days trainings/conferences have been conducted successfully in all four provincial capitals where the targeted participants were 35 in each event, but these training programs were attended by large number of audiences.
The objective of this project was to build the capacity of the media persons and targeted beneficiaries were 140, however, at the end of the project more than double media person’s trained.