Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services in partnership with Mustehkam Parlemaan organized a two day National Workshop on Strategic Communication & Media Relations for the Honourable members of the National Parliament & Provincial Assemblies from 23rd – 24th August, 2022 at Marriott Hotel Islamabad. The workshop was designed keeping in mind the evolving world of information technology and the increasing need for better strategic communication and media relations for the Honourable Parliamentarians.

The objective of the workshop was to highlight and understand the significance of effective communication, enhancing digital literacy and most importantly enable Parliamentarians on utilizing all platforms of media for building an effective narrative as well as strengthening their relationship with the Media.

The workshop commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Director General, PDP&C Madam Samer Awais welcomed the Honourable members and apprised them on the importance of strategic communication and media relations in the ever changing landscape of communications. Team Lead Mustehkam Parlemaan, Mr. William Christopher Shields greeted the participants and acknowledged the significance, strategic communication and good media representation can play in the life of a Parliamentarian.

Director General PDP, Ms.  Samer Awais briefly explained the contents of the workshop agenda, elaborating on the programme structure. The first session was a key note address delivered by Honourable Senator, Mr. Mushahid Hussain Senate of Pakistan on understanding the significance of strategic communication for a Parliamentarian. He narrated at length, his personal experiences and communication challenges encountered with the Media during his career as a journalist and as Parliamentarian. The second session was facilitated by Senator Farhat ullah Babar on “Communicating through a Crisis” where he explained the fundamentals of communication crisis, giving detailed accounts of his numerous experiences as an Official spokesperson while communicating through an emergency situation. This was followed by a session on “Learning the Art of Political Communication” by Parliamentary Expert, Mr. Zafarullah Khan where he focused on the prominence of social media as an emerging medium of communication in the present day political scenario. He apprised the audience on constituency politics and the right form of communications involved within. The last session was a short lecture on “managing the dos and dont’s of a press conference and individual talk shows”.  This session was convened by Media trainer, Mr. Akmal Khan where he asked participants to take part in a Mock Activity. The Honourable Members were engaged in a mock activity where they were presented with different emergency scenarios that they enacted in a press conference as well as replying to tough questions during a talk show. Members from each province actively participated in the activity and appreciated the feedback received from the Trainer at the end of the session.

Day Two sessions were planned with the purpose to shed light on the growing importance of social media platforms and pertinent problems faced by Parliamentarians within the evolving modes of political communication. Social Media trainer, Ms. Sehrish Kanwal apprised the members on managing social media handles. In this regard, a session on fake news was also convened by Mr. Usman Zafar, Communications Advisor, Mustehkam Parlemaan while recourse complaint mechanisms were also discussed by FIA Representative, Mr. Tariq Pervez Additional Director (Cyber Crime Wing) to facilitate the members on the ways to lodge complaints to filter false information regarding them. The workshop concluded with a vote of thanks from DG PDP&C Ms. Samer Awais. She expressed gratitude to members for eagerly participating in the workshop, and hoped that the two day activities proved beneficial in furthering their knowledge and know how on effective strategic communications.

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