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Supporting media and journalists hit by flooding

(RSF/IFEX) - 3 September 2010 - As millions of Pakistanis continue to suffer from the flooding that has hit a fifth of the country, journalists' organisations and media support groups are stepping up their efforts to help news media and journalists in the affected areas.

Reporters Without Borders has provided financial support to three independent newspapers - Shamal, Salam and Chand - in one of the worst-hit areas, the Swat valley, where there has been no electricity supply since 29 July, including in Mingora, the base of the valley's leading media.

To be able print issues and satisfy the population's vital need for news and information, these newspapers have had to use generators that consume a lot of fuel. This has resulted in a major increase in their production costs.

"Keeping the presses going with a generator is expensive but publishing the newspapers and continuing our work of reporting the news is more important," Shamal editor Ghulam Farooq told Reporters Without Borders. "As provincial newspapers, we get less advertising than national ones and yet our production costs have increased in August," he added. "Reporters Without Borders is the first organisation to give us support," Salam editor Qasim Yousafzai said.

This assistance was made possible by the EU's European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary. It was handed over to the three newspaper editors in Mingora by a Reporters Without Borders representative. Watch the video:

Independently-reported news is crucial for people who have been affected by a crisis or disaster. "Long live independent media," residents of the remote Atror valley chanted when it was visited by a group of Pakistani journalists, including the Reporters Without Borders correspondent, for the first time since the start of the flooding. "We need your help in letting the world know what is happening to us," said Muhammad Ayaz, 24, one of the victims.

You can make a donation towards Reporters Without Borders' efforts to help Pakistani news media:,34888.html

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has launched a special fund for journalists who have been hit by the flooding. Donations can be sent to: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Account No. 25574 National Bank of Pakistan, Corporate Branch, Super Market, Islamabad, Pakistan.

The BBC's Infoasaid (Information As Aid) service is broadcasting emergency radio programming in Urdu that provides flood victims with information about aid distribution. More information:

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