Refreshers and Exposures  
  Events worldwide shape, enrich, network and expose in 1001 ways  
Refreshers and Exposures since 1988

1. Introduction

Refresher and Exposure Programmes are the most popular programmes of continued formation among media professionals, journalists, publishers and professors of communication. Such events have been organised since 1988 on various continents and the demand for organising them are on the increase. The originality and exceptional nature of the event have always attracted more journalists than expected.

2. Aims

Freedom of expression: In spite of sea-changes in the field of governments and society, threat to freedom of expression is growing day after day. The freedoms of the press and religion have been in greater danger due to growing economies and widening gap between the rich and the poor. Such serious threats to the basic freedoms and a series of conflicts and wars have destroyed peace and development. These ongoing learning seminars aim at a comprehensive analysis of the situation. Absence of such freedoms also denies men and women the basic right to choose according to his or her conviction and hence contribute to the integral development and lasting peace. Refresher Programme is a serious attempt to safeguard freedom in view of stability and growth.

Quality reporting: In a world where inequality and intolerance continue to make heavy inroads, journalists are aware of the need to develop an ethics and information diffusion system founded on values of solidarity, sharing, equality and dignity of every individual.

Analysis of present-day realities: As most of the journalists have a basic training in journalism, the international Refreshers and exposures analyse subjects like freedom of information, ethics in journalism, conflicts in the field of the media, political systems and so on with the help of experts, and taking into consideration the present day exigencies. Such an educative analysis is a lot more important to a professional journalist who has been accomplishing his/her noble profession for a few years already. Such a "training of oneself through the analysis of present-day realities" will help the active information diffusers to have sufficient and balanced understanding of international affairs, their impact on nations and peoples, and their significance in the profession of the journalist.

First-hand information: As these events bring together professionals from different walks of life, the event gives first-hand information on different peoples by the journalists hailing from the same group of people. This way of understanding realities is more fruitful and meaningful for a professional to report or comment on an event than relying on the lucrative and often biased international news agencies.

Friendship: Refreshers and exposures are occasions to reinforce friendship among journalists. Friendship leads to initiatives of mutual co-operation and development, exchange and learning, encouragement and support, thus finding the real meaning of one's own professional and personal life. Such professional and personal contacts guarantee an ideal information network based on mutual respect irrespective of all difference, lead to goals of equal development, and respect the dignity of all.

Exposure to nations and continents: True understanding of a country and continent requires time and experience. Journalists need exposure to a country to allow them to understand its complexities and report objectively about it. The events enables journalists to achieve a deeper understanding of a new country or continent, its society and history, culture, economic development, politics, media, ethics, and religions. This will allow participants to report on events in a way that sheds new light on the subject and frees them from dependence on international news agencies.

Networking: Refreshers and exposures are opportunities to meet journalists from all over the world and build up a network of contacts. Journalists, both young and experienced, from a mixture of backgrounds and countries can learn a lot from each other and such an encounter can be a great source of support and education. The contacts built up through these events form an information network based on mutual respect regardless of difference. These formation events are also a serious attempt to understand the world we live in and face the challenge of promoting responsible journalism.

A pioneer in education: Refreshers and exposures, with their intense curriculum and wide range of subjects, offers a more diverse and practical education than a formal university programme. Professor William Thorn's lecture during the exposure event in Canada and USA was a distillation of the programme he runs for full-time students. During the expousre in India and Pakistan, Mrs Joytsna Chatterji's lecture on Women summarised a course that would normally be spread over a whole term at the University of Delhi. Likewise, Professor Paul Roth gave an efficient overview of Communism in Europe.

Respecting cultures, peoples, journalists worldwide: These events also aims to lend respectability to journalists from developing nations who risk being dismissed as second-class citizens. Besides most of the educational programmes in the so called rich countries are shaped to keep up their on interests worldwide. Such educational system is corrupt, unjust and dehumanising. The refreshers and exposures bring together professionals from around the globe on an equal basis. It is a forum where they can swap experiences and opinions in a neutral climate, allowing them to understand the challenges faced by their colleagues. The event treats all participating journalists equally. By enabling journalists from developing nations to avoid the need to study at universities abroad, we hope to help these nations to improve their educational infrastructure.

Dialogue and Action: The Refresher and Exposure Programme is also a serious attempt to understand nations -- their history, peoples, cultures, religion and society -- and to study profoundly the challenge of value-oriented journalism in the modern society. The Refresher and Exposure Programme discusses the issues in the region in view of peace and development. It will be also an exceptional opportunity for dialogue between media professionals, state and religious leaders.

3. Themes

The refreshers and exposures analyse the most pressing issues of the host countries, regions and continents. Keynote speakers are experienced journalists and experts from all walks of life:

Society: culture, customs, taboos, minorities and ethnic groups.

Political Systems: Government, parliament and electoral system; Politics on a day-to-day basis; Democracy in the host countries and region; Recent developments; Impact and consequences of the political system.

Economy: Situation of the host countries and their neighbours; Efforts to compete in the international market, successes and failures; New trends and efforts to cope with globalisation; Aspirations of people in urban and rural settings; Opinions of local political and religious leaders

Media: publishing, broadcasting, encounters with editors and journalists, media training, press freedom, censorship, the future of the press amidst growing concerns about widening gap between rich and poor.

Children: the situation of children, development projects, education and skills.
Religion: the influence of religion; how faith shapes lives; new evangelical religions, interfaith relations, religious conflict and repression.

Human rights: Violations carried out at state or local level; Organisations working in these areas; What can be done to improve the situation?

Refugees: Causes behind the migration of large numbers of people from their homes; Consequences on society, politics and the refugees themselves.

History: A proper understanding of the background to a country always throws light on the current situation.

4. Methodology

The study and or exposure days are consecrated to explore the theme and its sub-themes with experienced speakers, resource persons and working groups. Keynote speakers are experienced journalists and experts from all walks of life.

Working groups meet during the study days to explore the theme from precise geographical and concrete professional levels. Selected exposures during the refresher week give the participants, resource parsons and organisers to get a touch with reality and first hand knowledge.

The refreshers and exposures are also conceived to develop strong ties among its participants this allowing them to build their own networks for future and to become competent.

5. Local Organisation

Our organisers include media professionals, citizens, experts in various fields including culture, society, politics, economy and religion as well as state and religious authorities.

6. Challenges ahead

Increasingly we live in a world shaped by technological advances. It is now possible for journalists to stay behind their desks and investigate entire stories using their telephone and the Internet. Gone is much of the incentive to travel to war zones and file stories from the field.

But the colour, grit and immediacy of reportage are missing from stories written and researched in the office. It is impossible for a journalist to give an authentic account of a situation without experiencing it and talking to the people involved. Any report will benefit immeasurably from the journalist's own impressions and first hand descriptions. The refreshers and exposures respond to this requirement, giving a chance to journalists who may otherwise not get the opportunity to travel and learn more about a continent which interests them professionally. It is the best way in which we can help them to answer the urgent need for responsible, well-informed journalism.