Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors 1st Floor, New Block-1, Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium, Liaquat Barracks, Opp Jinnah Hospital, off Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi.
CPNE –USAID Enhancing Demand for RTI Laws by Media Capacity Building Project.
The objective of this project was to improve the quality of media coverage on issues of transparency and accountability in Sindh, to increase the transparency and accountability of the Sindh Government through the promulgation of the Right to Information Bill and to increase public awareness of existing mechanisms for access to information and of the need for right to information legislation.
These objectives are accomplished as by trainings and sensitization of editors and journalists. These trainings improve the quality of media coverage on issues of transparency and accountability in Sindh. The Advocacy meetings and then final seminar increase the transparency and accountability of the Sindh Government through the promulgation of the Right to Information Bill. CPNE published and disseminated thousands of posters / stickers and broachers, 924 public service messages broadcast by popular FM radio, more than 10 articles, 5 in Urdu and 5 in sindhi as well as 5 videos on vemio, face book & twitter pages and awareness section on CPNE website to increase public awareness of existing mechanisms for access to information and of the need for right to information legislation.
CPNE project is related to RTI law enactment in Sindh for accountability and transparency and in this project CPNE part of work is to improve the quality of media reporting, create awareness about RTI and importance of enactment of effective law in Sindh among journalist and editors and then through their help and practice deliver the draft bill to the legislators for enactment.
CPNE made Chief Minister and senior ministers to promise to work for the presented draft; we bring all parties on one page for the cause. Secondly our working start an awareness wave in youth and CPNE create Editors network for RTI cause as well as Journalists network and youth network.
Progress against each objective
Analytical Research Report
To improve the quality of media coverage on issues of transparency and accountability in Sindh , CPNE start its effort by working on a detailed desk research, in which RTI , RTI implementation globally , regional and then in country discussed.
This Research and Review Report on Right to Information legislation and practice means to emphasize the status of RTI around the globe, categorize the best practices, obstacles and hassles, prospects and potentials.
The report focused on the status and issues of RTI in Pakistan specifically Sindh. The journey, existing legislations and practices, flaws, way outs, the stakeholders and the beneficiaries of RTI. In order to understand the dynamics of RTI implementation, this report analyzes the efforts of civil society and development sector.
Base line survey
Base line survey conducted to assess the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of Sindh media on the subject of transparency and access to information also the practice and experience of Sindh media within the existing FOI framework and to gauge the change resulting from the project. Regarding media professionals’ awareness on the RTI law a majority is not aware. There are many reasons behind but the most important is lack of knowledge of their field and those who know are hesitant to apply in their professional life.
Most of the top level journalists know about RTI but they prefer to use their personal relations in collecting information. The same conventional approach is practice at bottom level which is the main hindrance in the implementation of RTI law.
There were media professionals who think that corruption and vested interest groups as frictional factor to the law. They also mentioned government.
Base line survey give the clear picture of awareness and shows iterst level of journalists / editors regarding RTI.
Formation of Editor Network for RTI
CPNE Editors Network formed to sensitized editors to increase engagement and sensitize the masses regarding the enactment of an effective RTI law in Sindh. This network, comprising of editors of print and electronic media, lobbied for the draft RTI bill through meetings with legislators. The network will be trained to enhance its capacity on RTI advocacy. The network will also liaise with the Citizens’ Voice Project grantee organization that is developing the draft Sindh Right to Information Bill.
Editor Network for RTI Trainings
Senior Editors of the Editors network CPNE identify and brought onboard 36 editors who formed the Network and receive relevant training.
Three two-day training workshops conducted to develop and strengthen the capacity of these editors. The workshops enhance the editors’ understanding of the importance of transparency and accountability for development in Pakistan, and increase their knowledge about challenges and mechanisms for accountability in public service, international standards and practices related to transparency and accountability in public functions, and tools for effective advocacy for provincial RTI legislation.
Specialized Journalists Training
These trainings build the capacity of 8 specialized groups of journalists consisted more then100 journalists from selected national and international media organizations on transparency and accountability, existing mechanisms of access to information, RTI laws, and tools and opportunities for effective advocacy for legislative reforms.
The trainings raised the awareness level of these selected professionals to understand their civic rights and duties, role in advocacy for provincial RTI law, designing and executing advocacy campaigns. To increase the transparency and accountability of the Sindh Government through the promulgation of the Right to Information Bill, these trainings session successfully achieved the objective for increase journalists understand the meaning and value of freedom of information, explain the principles underlying freedom of information laws, explore the RTI legislation and practice in Pakistan, review an effective RTI Law and appellate body and utilization of RTI law as game changer.
Advocacy Meetings of the Network of Editors for RTI organized in Karachi with provincial legislators to review the then draft Sindh Right to Information Bill and lobby for the introduction of the bill in the Sindh Assembly.
CPNE arranged two meetings on top most high level , one at CM House Karachi with Chief Minister Sindh and the other one Sindh second largest party in Sindh Assembly Mutheda Qoumi Movement MQM . Mqm leaders with Mr. farooq Sattar attend this meeting support the cause and even signature on the drafted bill. These Advocacy meetings served the objective to deliver the draft at top legislators level, convinced them to support it and present iot in the assembly, which is a huge success.
In provincial seminar the then draft bill presented to legislators, high-ranking officials of provincial institutions/departments, political party leaders, lawyers, media representatives, civil society representatives, prominent intellectuals and other important opinion-makers. Besides presenting the salient features of the bill, the seminar also discussed the need for right to information legislation, international best practices in RTI, and RTI success stories and case studies from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
CPNE published 10 articles ( 5 in urdu and 5 in sindhi) successfully in major newspapers on the topics related to RTI law in major newspapers. Newspaper publication means a lot of awareness; we got feedback of these articles especially from Sindhi newspaper as they reach in rural areas.
Public Service Messages
4 public service messages (2 in Urdu, 2 in Sindhi) aired 231 times each = 924 broadcasted successfully from FM 105 for creating awareness in masses regarding RTI Law in Sindh
Public service messages is a good experience, we received calls from Hyderabad, Sukkhar and Karachi as well about the massages and RTI law, people want to know that when it all could be possible , one caller asked that should she can get her goats back from the zamindar (landlord ) which he captured three months back due to loan after RTI implementation.
Distribution of 5,000 posters, 25,000 brochures and 6,000 stickers to raised awareness about the need for RTI legislation designed and distributed Successfully, This was a pleasant experience as people used them and it creates awareness.
CPNE Produce and upload 5 Vimeo videos successfully for creating awareness in masses regarding RTI law’s importance, Video recording and uploading gets not only viewers from Karachi or Sindh but it seen nationally and internationally.
Youth Awareness Sessions
Youth Awareness sessions are another practice of increasing public awareness as youth is a nation future. 20 youth awareness sessions in major universities arranged successfully. CPNE trained more than 1500 students in 20 universities and colleges.
The project achieved superb Success, by the grace of Allah Subhan o Talla we achieved our goal, the RTI Law passed in Sindh Assembly .We successfully conveyed the draft to the legislators as our goal is to enactment of an effective RTI law.
The project achieved its other objectives to improve the quality of media coverage on issues of transparency and accountability in Sindh. When we started with base line survey we found that there are journalists and newspaper editors who have sound knowledge of RTI but they are very small in number. This small number not only understands its importance but also its relevancy in their professional life. A large number of journalists and newspaper editors did not have appropriate information about RTI. But as we reach end line there is a clear change in them, journalists take interest in trainings even senior editors are not only eager to make a network for RTI cause but gave their precious time when and where asked by CPNE.
We successfully conveyed the draft to the legislators as our goal is to enactment of an effective RTI law and by the grace of Allah Subhan o Talla we achieved our goal. We done at most step to fulfill this job as arranged advocacy meeting at Chief Minister House where in presence of senior ministers and legislators
CM Sindh Mr. Qaim Ali Shah declared that Sindh Government work on the same draft which CPNE presented to him and if any changes required it will be done with collaboration of Counsil of Pakistan Newspaper editors CPNE. He remarks that RTI cause makes history as first time more than 60 senior editors from all over the country came to CM House for it.
We not only sensitized the Editors, trained Journalists but charged our Youth as well, now the universities students are writing to MOHTISAB E AALA to ask questions and their problems. Student takes much interest about RTI law and their implementation.
CPNE understand the magnitude of the topic and the importance and reflection of the implication of RTI , CPNE president Mr. Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami and Secretary General Dr. Jabbar Khattak announced at our provincial seminar that CPNE will not stop working on RTI cause on project ending , we will work till the law passes in Sindh and then for its rules and implementations, and not only that CPNE widen its canvas from one province to national level and as in Sindh we will create Editor Networks , Journalists network and youth networks in all capitals of provinces so we can play the leading role in this important campaign.