Lahore, December 14th: In a festive spirit, the Christian Journalist Association of Pakistan (CJAP), in collaboration with the Church of Pakistan (COP), orchestrated its Annual Christmas get-together on December 14th at St. Peter’s School Hall, Waris Road, Lahore. The event served as a platform to strengthen connections among Pakistani Christian journalists across the nation.
The esteemed gathering was graced by the presence of The Rt. Rev Dr. Azad Marshall and the Former Minister of Human Rights, Minority Affairs & Interfaith Harmony Punjab (Pakistan), Ejaz Alam Augustine, who attended as chief guests. The atmosphere was enriched with the melodious carols presented by the choir of St. Peter’s Church, adding a festive touch to the evening. The event was smoothly conducted by Mr. Nasir Jameel.
Distinguished guests, including Mr. Zaheer Abbas, Coordinator of the Church of Pakistan, Rev. Shahzad Gill, Senior Chaplain to Moderator COP, Fawad Fazal, and Sumaira Shafique, advocate, were in attendance to honor the occasion. As part of the festivities, CJAP took the opportunity to recognize and honor journalists with Excellence Awards, highlighting their outstanding contributions to journalism.
The Annual Christmas Gathering not only celebrated the joyous season but also underscored the significant role of Christian journalists in shaping public discourse and fostering unity.
In his welcoming address, Rev Dr. Azad Marshall, Moderator of the Church of Pakistan & Bishop of Raiwind Diocese, lauded CJAP’s initiative in uniting Christian journalists from all over the country under one roof. He also underscored the urgency for the Church to acknowledge the rising persecution of Christians and called for solidarity. Dr. Marshall highlighted the etymological significance of “Journalism” in Urdu, derived from “Saheefa” (scripture in English), emphasizing the profound importance of journalism in informing, sensitizing and developing the community.
Ejaz Alam Augustine, in his address, celebrated the privilege of truth-telling in journalism, noting the inseparable nature of politics and journalism in influencing world movements. He acknowledged the additional responsibilities bestowed upon journalists in the era of artificial intelligence and expressed concern over the rise of untrained individuals claiming journalistic status through social media enhancing the risk of disinformation. Augustine pointed out the increased threats Christian journalists face, especially when covering sensitive topics like the misuse of blasphemy and the persecution of Christians, and commended their resilience and dedication.
The event also featured the presentation of the Excellence Award in reporting for the year 2023. Recipients included Haroon Yousaf from National News Nama, Sohail Yousaf, Editor of Pak Christian News, Kamran Choudhry from UCAN, Dr. Salamat Tabassum, Shamaun Saad, Tahir Tufail, Nasir Jameel, Nadeem Gill, Sheeba Gill, Shahbaz Ghosh, Sameer Ajmal, Ejaz George, and Gamaliel Dogra. These individuals were honored for their outstanding contributions to Christian journalism in Pakistan.
Other speakers, such as Mr. Kashif Nawab, CJAP coordinator, Sumaira Shafique advocate, Anoch Faiz Advocate, and others, also addressed the gathering, sharing insights and experiences. The event concluded with a delicious lunch, providing an opportunity for attendees to network and celebrate their shared commitment to truthful and impactful journalism.
The Annual Christmas get-together and Excellence Award Ceremony 2023 not only recognized the achievements of Christian journalists in Pakistan but also reinforced the community’s commitment to integrity, truth, and solidarity in the face of challenges.