“Well, now people will gather in front of the TV in their homes and say that this is Jahangir’s daughter, so-and-so’s niece. This is yet another shame …” said Naheed Jahangir while recalling the initial days of her career as a journalist.
Naheed Jahangir, a resident of Shabqadar in Peshawar, worked for several years as reporter, and presenter with different media houses such as PTV, Radio Pakistan and Tribal News Network.
On World Press Freedom Day, she has shared her story with TNN to encourage and inspire other women to join the service as she believes journalism is a public good.
“When I was studying journalism at the University of Peshawar, I had to write a Pashto script one day during the training. During that time, a teacher suggested to me that why don’t you do Pashto news and then join PTV through the University of Peshawar. I acted upon his advice and that’s how I started Pashto News.
Her family members were unaware that Naheed Jahangir would come on the screen and report the news. When she came home and asked her father, he said, “My daughter, if this is your field, then what is wrong with coming on the screen? I do not have any objection or reservations about it.”
PTV trained me and then I came on-screen. Now let me share that back then PTV was very popular in the village, so almost everyone saw me on screen and called my father. They also objected and mentioned that she has changed her name to appear on the screen. It was because of the educational credentials, my father had given my name as Naheed Jahangir while my Grandfather had given me Elizabeth’s name. Everyone objected to the fact that “Why have you changed your name?”
After PTV, I started Pashto newscasting from Radio Pakistan Peshawar. In 2016, I went to America with a reference from PTV. After that slowly and gradually, everyone’s mind started to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with this field and that it is a good field.
Girls have to face difficulties in each and every step, and especially in this field. We are surviving in an environment in which we are reminded all the time that this job is for boys, not girls.
Journalism is the kind of field which is considered better only for men in our society. The biggest problem of our society is that they don’t have exposure to journalism and showbiz, everyone who comes on TV is considered to be an actor or actress. I have also seen some so-called educated “ignorant” people who cannot differentiate between journalism and showbiz.
My family, especially my father, supported me a lot. When your family stands by your side, then one doesn’t care about all that other people have to say.
In addition to this, when an important problem comes up in the Journalism field, it mainly happens because of the people in your field. If someone covers a story, the people in his/her field would start criticizing him/her and would mock them by saying, do you call yourself a journalist? How come? As you don’t know anything about journalism.
The journey in the field of journalism is not short, nor does it take a little time to make your name stand out among other renowned journalists. Today I’m standing here because of the restless efforts I made to get to this point.
I was awarded the National Award by the PPF, it encouraged me even more as I believe that the more a person works, the more he/she gets rewarded. She says “girls should come to journalism no matter what”
I am recently holding the position of Assistant Media Manager in the largest hospital in the province. Journalism has given me name and honour and fame. I would advise girls that you have to face difficulties in almost every field of life but it better is to put aside all the difficulties and come to this field.