Islamabad, PK – 28 April 2014–Media Development Trust and National University of Science and Technology (NUST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to develop initiatives for development, empowerment and mainstreaming research on media in Pakistan. The MOU signing ceremony was held at the Mass Communication Department of NUST, where the faculty members, students and media scholars were present. Prof. Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Principal and Dean, School of Social Sciences & Humanities, NUST and Amir Jahangir President Media Development Trust signed the MOU.
On this occasion President Media Development Trust (MDT) and CEO Mishal Pakistan, Amir Jahangir said that Media Development Trust is working with different academic institutions in the country to bridge the gap between academic research and industry practices. There is a gap between media practices and the theories being taught at our universities, we need to address this to improve the state of media in Pakistan. Also research institutions need to have more focuson how to commercialize their research by increasing industry-academia collaboration.
He further said that, Media Development Trust and its strategic partners Mishal Pakistan and AGAHI, in collaboration with NUST would create capacity building initiatives for the faculty and students through interactive workshops, seminars and research initiatives on specific sectors with a focus on media. MDT and NUST will create a hybrid pool of resources for knowledge sharing.
Sharing his views on the MOU, Principal and Dean, School of Social Sciences and Humanities NUST, Prof. Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan said that we are honored to be a part of the industry academia collaboration with the Media Development Trust and will put all efforts to make this initiative credible and objective. The department offers a unique opportunity to combine innovation in media with the students in the mass communication field for joint research projects, engaging prominent media institutions and experts of national and international repute.
Chairman, Department of Mass Communication NUST, Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal said that NUST’s Department of Mass Communication has been envisioned as a center of excellence for promoting media and communication studies in the country. We aim to accomplish this in a manner that can be useful for media professionals, academic scholars, researchers, development sector, policy-makers and regulatory bodies.
According to the MOU, both the organizations will work together to create research opportunities for students and faculty members in the media sphere including the Media Credibility Index (MCI). They will also develop initiatives for the students to understand issues relevant to media sciences and journalism in terms of media management, content analysis and outreach strategies. Collaboration on capacity building of students and faculty members, will build technical skill sets to work on the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of projects related to media and journalism.
Media Development Trust and NUST will work together to create Fellowships in media research to improve the human capital available for the sector in Pakistan; this will lead to Industry Academia collaborations. The MOU will also encourage excellence in research by awarding “TRUST Gold Medals”, every year for the students of Media & Communication Studies achieving first positions in Bachelor and Masters Programs.
President Agahi, Puruesh Chaudhary, President AGAHI and Country Ambassador of the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME), while sharing her views, said that media’s contribution to the sustainability of functioning democracies is significant. Media serve as a catalyst for human development and provides the justification to create a more cognizant collective consciousness of the society. We believe this collaboration will foster an enabling atmosphere through which free and independent media can flourish with plurality, diversity and will responsibly raise the bar of professionalism for ethical media practices in Pakistan, Chaudhary added.
The partnership between the two leading research institution Mishal (a country partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, World Economic Forum) and Pakistan’s top research university will identify the gaps in the knowledge ecosystem and build the capacity of the students and faculty members for creating opportunities according to the new tools of global communications. Both the organization will work together to create a knowledge exchange program between NUST and research institutions both at domestic and global level; whereby different programs will be developed to build synergies in the field of journalism and communication. Media Development Trust, in collaboration with NUST’s Mass Communication Department will also develop an annual report on the “State of Media in Pakistan”.
The initiative will also develop a learning platform with a special portal for debate and research on media management, ethical media practices and other regulatory issues faced by the Pakistani media practitioners and researchers.
Media Development Trust, through its strategic partners Mishal Pakistan and Agahi, is working on different research and advocacy projects for the development of media in Pakistan which includes, Media Credibility Index (MCI), Agahi Awards, ILM-o-AGAHI, TRUST Gold Medals for outstanding students in media sciences and journalism scholarships.
National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) was established in March 1991 for the promotion of higher scientific education in the country, especially in the fields of science and technology, by providing a stable and disciplined academic environment together with need-based research, pertinent to industrial requirements. The University will start its Masters’ program in the mass communication in fall 2014. Over the years, the university has expanded in scope, services and stature and has emerged as a leading comprehensive University in the public sector.
Media Development Trust established in 2011 is an initiative to improve industry-academia linkage through media and communication; the initiative engages leading professional and researchers in media development across the globe. Media Development Trust also creates synergies and understanding through media and communication between societies for better understanding of issues arising from cultural, social and political challenges.