By Shoukat Zardari, AWAZ-TV Anchor from Karachi, Pakistan
Friday gave me a great start as usual and I learned in the morning editorial meeting that I would join reporter Matt Barbour in covering a major road construction project. I was really amazed to know that media here keeps on updating people about the ongoing projects. When I asked my News Director the reasons he cover this issue, he said that they normally update their viewers about the project's work and they also inform them about the performance on a project. This reminded me of my show when I was on the streets of my province and seeing hundreds of projects which got complete on papers and there was nothing on the ground.
When we went out from the newsroom Matt told me that today we will not cover the construction projection but we will go to somewhere in Georgia to cover the story of a detective who worked in a police department and was arrested on charges of breaking into police evidence lockers to steal drug evidence to sell.
When we reached the police station the behavior of them reminded me of what I face in Pakistan. They told Matt to talk to the Georgia Beaureu of Investigation but Matt was calm and cool. He respectfully asked them to get him to sheriff but the sheriff was not willing to talk to the media. A sheriff here in U.S is like a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Pakistan. Matt kept on saying "they never like me." I told met that if it was in Pakistan, the sheriff would have come to your office to give you an official statement. This is the U.S. and there are so many laws even for media to follow.
After trying a lot to get to the sheriff and after not getting any response from GBI matt went to the local commissioner's office. Even there he got nothing. At that time i could assume his level of stress and his worry about getting the news. Finally he decided to go further to the countryside of Summerville to see detective's family. Unfortunately he had a wrong address and we got nothing at the end except some video of the police station.
On Saturday, I was free and rested at my hotel. In the evening, I went to a fundraising program for the Kidney Foundation. The purpose of the program was to generate funds for kidney patients who are unable to afford their dialysis or other medications required for the disease. It was also a great experience and there I got a chance to meet one person who was in U.S Army and knew my country very well.
Later on Sunday I was invited to a dinner by one of my fellows and assignments manager Melydia Clewell. There I met her friends. We had a long discussion about Pakistan, Islam and everything related to U.S. foreign policy about Pakistan and other countries. It was really a pleasant and knowledgeable gathering where I got a chance to tell them about my country from Indus Valley civilization to the murder attempt on a 14 year old child. We also discussed faith and were talking about similarities in our faith. I also discussed with them about International Centre for Journalists and about US-Pakistan Professional exchange program as well.
Editor Note: Shoukat Zardari is visiting WRCB for the month of October to learn about U.S. media coverage. He is part of a foreign journalist visitor program supported by the U.S. State Department. WRCB is one of 14 American media organizations hosting a Pakistani journalist. Click here to learn more about Mr. Zardari's visit.