KARACHI - Speakers at a workshop urged health reporters to remain precautional and careful, and ensure credible reporting for the print or electronic media.

They stressed inclusion of version of the persons or department involved and crosschecking of facts to make the report balanced and credible.

Sanofi Pakistan Director External Affairs Laila Khan, senior reporter M Waqar Bhatti and former chief editor of Pakistan Press International (PPI) Farooq Moin addressed the reporters and writers on health issues during the health reporting workshop at IBA’s Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) in collaboration with Sanofi Pakistan.

Farooq Moin underlined the need for cross-checking of facts before filing a news item. The underlying point is credibility of the reporter, he said. He hoped young journalists would work with devotion, honesty and remain neutral.

On challenges faced by a health reporter and how to overcome these, Farooq Moin felt there is need to work with determination and skills. Health reporters must focus on the provision of safe drinking water and draw attention of the government to bring about drastic improvements in the health care system particularly in the rural areas of the country where it is needed on priority. Health reporters by exclusive and investigative reporting and also visiting rural areas must report without fear or favour true facts. Attending workshops, seminars, conference and reading latest trends in health care will contribute to better reporting.

Waqar Bhatti urged the health reporters to increase their understanding of English language and medical terminologies by reading as much as possible. English is the language for all the communication in the health sector, notifications from health department as well as communication by international health agencies and global organisations.

He advised reporters about daily field visits to develop contacts with people in their area of reporting and try to learn from them. Reporters should also visit hospitals, health facilities, offices of health officials and meet patients and their attendants for stories, he said.

 “Routine as well as exclusive stories can’t be acquired without going out to the field. One needs regular field visits, update his or her knowledge and never hesitate in learning from others. Health reporting is all about learning new things and communicating them to people,” Waqar Bhatti added.

Waqar acknowledged the efforts by CEJ and Sanofi Pakistan for organising the workshop and urged the importance of enhanced learning.

Laila Khan presented an overview of company’s operations in Pakistan. She thanked the Speakers, as well as Director CEJ- Kamal Siddiqui and his team members for affiliating this expedient effort.