JournalismPakistan.com August 11, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Different professional challenges and hurdles may discourage journalists to attempt writing a book on any issue of their interest but still there are ways to do it if one has got commitment and passion.
Journalists and anchorpersons listed a slew of handicaps that apparently prevent them writing a book along with their professional duties while commenting on Azaz Syed’s book, “The Secrets of Pakistan’s War on al-Qaeda.”
Dozens of journalists, students, media professionals and members of civil society attended the book launching ceremony Tuesday at the National Press Club, Islamabad, where a group of panelists also shared their opinions on the question, “Why journalists don’t write a book?”
Rana Jawad, Director News Geo TV, said that he initially discouraged Azaz Syed from writing the book as he felt the initiative needed ‘greater skill and time’ to complete it.
“I thought it is a difficult job to write a book as this needs a lot of resources, commitment and passion,” he said. “I’m happy to tell you that Azaz Syed did it with limited resources but greater commitment and passion.”
Jawad said that Pakistani journalists cannot grow due to different pressures in the society and often prefer to share the valuable information in their journalistic circles instead of trying to write a book.
“Western journalists do write books on important issues but they are comparatively more skilled and resourceful,” he said.
Investigative journalist Umar Cheema lauded Syed for doing original work for his book as the journalists usually prefer to publish their books either by compiling their articles or doing translations of some popular books.
“There is a breed of journalists in the country that takes pride in masquerading as authors of books that are simple compilation of judicial commissions’ reports,” he said.
He said that Syed is a passionate journalist and the same zeal has driven him to write the book that is based on facts and first-hand accounts.
Anchorperson Absar Alam said that one needs resources, commitment and courage to write a book as this is not an easy job to do.
“Sometimes self-censorship discourages journalists to dare write a book as they feel they may become controversial after writing a book on a sensitive issue like Taliban and al-Qaeda,” he said.
Journalists in the West are paid by publishers, besides having full support from their employers, to travel around and write a book on any topic of their interest while there is need to develop the same culture here too, he said.
Journalist and anchorperson Sattar Khan, however, said reporters should attempt writing a book only when they mature and have sufficient knowledge about a specific subject.
“I don’t encourage young journalists to delve into book writing, instead they need to focus on digging good stories and develop journalistic skills to become an investigative reporter,” he said.
Summing up, Azaz Syed said, “People don’t write books because they don’t read books.”
Photo courtesy: Sadia Widad
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