Afghan Politicians Learn Media Skills with SUNY/APAP
Committee chairpersons from the Meshrano Jirga (MJ, the upper house of the National Assembly) and the Secretary General's staff participated in a one-day media skills training workshop facilitated by the Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project (APAP). Held on October 28, the workshop was designed to help the chairpersons engage with the media as a way of informing the public about the work of their respective committees. The participants gained a basic understanding of how the media works, what the media expects from the National Assembly, and how to build positive and productive relationships with the media.
To test their skills, the attendees enthusiastically participated in a mock press conference and radio interviews. "After receiving media skills training and having access to the media contact list, I've decided to directly contact the media for disseminating my messages," said Senator Najiba Husaini, the Second Secretary of the MJ, at the end of the mock press conference. "We should not be scared of the media; we should talk to them so that our constituencies are informed of our activities."
In his closing remarks, MJ Secretary General Mohammad Kazim Malwan proclaimed the workshop a success and expressed his wishes that similar events take place in future. "The training was very useful and I hope it will not be the last," he said. "We need to learn more so that the senators, the media and public relations department of the Meshrano Jirga are able to reduce the distance between the public and the National Assembly through professional relations." APAP is also helping parliamentarians strengthen their relationships with constituents in other ways, such as through public hearings, radio roundtables and interviews, and the production of documentaries.