The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) is having its 500th Executive Committee meeting in Lahore. A delegation of around 40 Executive Committee members will be in Pakistan from June 20 to 24, 2005, and will also hold roundtable meetings with the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Council of Pakistani Newspaper Editors (CPNE), besides government heads including the Prime Minister and the Information Minister of Pakistan.
Speaking to exchange4media, Deepak Raja, Executive Director, INS, said, “INS is 65 years old and the 500th Executive Committee was considered a special occasion. Routinely, it is rotated across Indian cities each year giving us an opportunity to meet publishers and advertisers from different markets. Being a special occasion we wanted to do it differently and Najam Sethi of SAFMA, when in India recently, extended us the invitation and we took up on it.”
Industry leaders view this as furthering of the track two people to people and media to media diplomacy which is taking place between the two countries. Though groups of editors have been visiting India from Pakistan and Indian editors have been visiting Pakistan too, this is said to be the first visit as an Industry body for the Indian media.
The delegation is also hoping to meet the Pakistani President Musharraf, though their schedule permits them to be in Islamabad only for a day. Another significant event during the visit is expected to be in the form of the delegation’s meeting with the Paksitani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, who has generated a lot of media attention lately on either side of the border.
Deepak Raja added that since took over in February this year, one of the first things he was asked to do was to follow up on the personal relationships some of the leaders shared with their Pakistani counterparts.
There might even be a message in this for the Indian travel and hospitality industry too: the cost of the event is working out lesser than it would when holding it in India!