Report on a Two-Day Training Workshop for Editors of Religious Media on “Humanitarian Journalism During Armed Conflicts and Emergencies” that was held in Karachi, Pakistan, on 16th and 17th May, 2023:

In its ongoing commitment to promoting humanitarian values and principles, the ICRC has been collaborating with the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad since 2019. This partnership has seen the successful execution of various seminars and conferences on humanitarian law and principles. In 2022, both institutions took a significant step forward by organizing a ground-breaking workshop aimed at training editors of religious media, with a particular focus on periodicals published by various religious seminaries and organizations.

The inaugural workshop, held in Murree, proved to be a resounding success, garnering widespread appreciation from its participants. Building upon this positive experience, ICRC and IPS resolved to continue this valuable initiative in 2023. This time, the workshop found its home in the vibrant city of Karachi, drawing participants from the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh. The workshop welcomed thirty-three male and female participants, representing a rich tapestry of perspectives and backgrounds. Editors and writers from all Islamic schools of thought gathered to engage in meaningful discussions and skill-building exercises.

Throughout the workshop, participants delved into a variety of essential topics. The curriculum covered themes such as “Humanitarian Disaster & Human Life”, “Protocols of Humanitarian Journalism”, “Complex Humanitarian Disaster”, “Gathering, Sorting, and Presenting Information during Emergencies”, and “Healing Wounds Through Humanitarian Journalism”. The workshop adopted an interactive approach, fostering engagement and active participation. Instead of traditional lectures, resource persons shared insights briefly, after which participants were divided into groups. These groups engaged in scenario-based discussions related to the topic, culminating in presentations. This methodology sparked lively debates and discussions, providing participants with a practical understanding of applying theoretical principles in real-world situations.

In a culmination of their learning journey, all participants were tasked with writing a situation report based on practical circumstances they had encountered in their lives. This exercise reinforced the importance of applying humanitarian journalism principles to real-life scenarios.

The workshop benefited greatly from the expertise of seasoned media professionals who shared their vast experience in covering wars and disasters in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other contexts. Their insights and real-world anecdotes enriched the participants’ understanding of humanitarian journalism.

One of the critical outcomes of the workshop was the deep exploration of the compatibility between the humanitarian principles of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement and Islamic principles. Through rigorous discussions, participants gained clarity on these principles, dispelling misconceptions, and promoting a harmonious integration of faith and humanitarianism.

The Religious Media Training Workshop 2023 served as a platform for fostering understanding, nurturing skills, and promoting humanitarian values within the realm of religious media. It represented a significant stride toward bridging the gap between faith and humanitarian journalism, ultimately contributing to a more informed, compassionate, and empathetic media landscape. ICRC and IPS remain committed to continuing this vital work in the years to come.

Please read the full workshop report here.