Maxwell, Newhouse Welcome Journalists from South and Central Asia for 2016 Murrow Program

Murrow Program 2016Nine journalists from South and Central Asia have arrived at Syracuse University for a week of exchange and education, as part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, a partnership of the U.S. State Department, the Poynter Institute, and a network of nine top U.S. schools for journalism.

At Syracuse, participants are co-hosted by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. This is the fifth year Maxwell and Newhouse have hosted reporters from the South and Central Asia region. This year’s participants hail from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, and Sri Lanka. They will remain at SU until November 9.

Across the country, approximately 90 emerging international leaders in the field of journalism take part in the Murrow Program, joining their American counterparts to exchange ideas on best practices in reporting the news. Over the course of a three-week exchange, Murrow Program participants will examine the essential role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democracy. For many participants, the program is also an opportunity to build a global professional network and is a window into diverse perspectives and cultural differences. 

The nine participants currently at SU are:

From Pakistan: Haneen Shaheen Rafi, a reporter and senior sub-editor for Dawn Newspaper in Karachi; and Uneeba Waqar, a reporter for Geo News, an Urdu language network also in Karachi. 

From Bangladesh: Rogena Akter, a journalist at the daily Prothom Alo.

From India:  Anwesha Banerjee, a senior copy editor at Ei Samay; and Santhosh John, a senior reporter for the daily Malayala Manorama.

From Kyrgyzstan: Elnura Alkanova, a journalist/producer for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

From Nepal: Kuber Chalise, the Business and Economy bureau chief, Nepal Republic Media, Nagarik and Republica (a daily); and Jaydev Poudyal, a photographer and blogger for Stories of Nepal.

From Sri Lanka: Dhanushka Chaturanga Ramanayake Arachchige Don, a working director and board member for Independent Television Network Ltd.

Alumni of the program say that they came not only to hone their skills, but also to deepen awareness and understanding among participants.

“As a journalist, I recognize the fact that journalism in U.S. is far more mature than in Pakistan. I always had an urge to observe the practices in U.S. and implement them in Pakistan,” says Aniqa Nisar Khan, a 2013 alumna of the Murrow Program. “I learned innumerable things including the importance of protecting the identity of a source, and the importance of social media, which I am now making use of.”

Khan, who anchors a public affairs television program in Pakistan, says she also came to the program to help assess and dispel misperceptions about the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. “Pakistan and U.S.A. are close allies in the war against terrorism. In my country there is a general perception that the U.S.A. does not fully appreciate the sacrifices Pakistan has made in this war, which have cost us nearly 60,000 lives and great expense,” she explains. “As a journalist, it was highly important for me to learn firsthand whether it is just a perception or are the ground realities similar to the perception. Along with that I hoped to bridge the gap between the people of both countries and mend Pakistan's image in the United States.”

To learn more about the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, visit