Access to Information

The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and CIPE Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding in April 2006 confirming their mutual interest in strengthening the capacity of Pakistan’s economic journalists, in order to make reliable information on economic issues more available to the public.

As part of this agreement, CIPE and PPF jointly organized two training workshops in Karachi and Islamabad on “Understanding and Reporting the Budget.” The workshops focused on increasing the economic literacy of journalists and preparing them to report on major economic issues. A business policy roundtable was also organized to generate concrete recommendations for the development of business and economic journalism. PPF and CIPE then circulated these recommendations to Pakistani news editors to garner their support for increased attention to economic journalism.

Among the ideas raised at the roundtable were the following (categorized by participant):

Media

  •  Media experts should train young journalists.
  •  The media should take steps to improve the knowledge and skills of journalists to interpret,
    __ analyze, and present economic data.
  •  The media should communicate economic information to all citizens, not just business and
    __ economic professionals.
  •  The media should follow up on significant economic stories.
  •  A code of ethics should be developed to maintain high reporting standards.
  • Refresher courses should be introduced for all skills levels of journalists.
  •  Steps should be taken to encourage the private sector to see the role that the media can
    __ play in advancing policy advocacy.

Businesses and business associations

  •  Editors and journalists should make full use of training programs and workshops for capacity
    __ building.
  • Only those with a true interest in economic journalism should take part in such training
    __ programs.
  • Trade associations should interact with the media on a more regular basis.
  • Businesses and business associations should expand their ability to work effectively with the
    __media.
  • The agricultural sector should be considered a separate and major stakeholder in dialogue
    __with the media.
  • All sides of a story should be reported.
  • An emphasis should be placed on regional and Urdu economic journalism.

Government

  • Detailed analysis of economic information must be carried out by stakeholders.

Academics

  • Economics should be taught at the secondary school level, to create a broader foundation for
    __economic journalism.
  • Communications students should be taught applied economics.

General Public

  • Greater use of electronic media for economic information should be encouraged.
  • The print media should analyze the implications of all of the government’s economic
    __announcements