KARACHI - The speakers at a seminar on "Dialogue on Media Needs and Mass Communication/Journalism Curriculum" termed that the present curriculum was not meeting the needs of modern media and they strongly recommended the formation of a media council to prepare the curriculum of mass communication in universities. The dialogue was organised by the Intermedia, a non-profit organisation which was attended by the teachers of Mass Comm in various universities, students and journalists. Professor Shahida Qazi, in her speech, said that the curriculum of Mass Comm was not a big issue as Higher Education Commission reviewed it after every two years. She said that the theoretical portion must be reduced in curriculum and attention must be given to practical side. She suggested that five-year experience in working journalism must be made compulsory in the criteria for the hiring of teachers in Mass Comm. The teachers must get internship during vacations which will further expand their teaching capacity. Mehmood Ghaznavi, chairman Department of Mass Comm of Karachi University, said that the media organisations were not cooperating in giving internship to the students of Mass Comm. He informed that the current economic crisis in the country has also hurt the media organisations while a leading Urdu TV channel had delayed the salaries to its staffers. Another Urdu TV channel has closed its transmission while there were reports of financial problems in different other channels and newspapers. He was of the view that the glamour on TV was attracting the students to get admission in mass communication and 1376 candidate applied for admission against 35 seats in mass communication department of KU. Professor Nisar Zubairi said that scarcity of teachers and equipment was not meeting the needs of modern media. He informed that KU mass communication department had only 3 teachers while Dhaka University had 22 teachers. Mohammad Najeeb, executive director of Intermedia, pointed out that after every six months, at least 600 students get masters degree in mass communication from various universities of the country. The mass communication subject was not being taught as a profession in our universities, he opined. "We should prepare new students according to the demand of the new technologies and modern needs of the media." Bashir A Tahir of Intermedia said that the curriculum of mass communication had become outdated and it did not match the needs of the modern media. He informed that the number of private televisions had enhanced to 92 in the country while the number of state televisions had also been increased to 7. Adnan Rehmat of Internews disclosed that the number of radio stations had jumped as Radio Pakistan increased its network to 27 stations, while 11 FM radio licences had been issued in Islamabad, 83 in Punjab (on air 30), 24 in NWFP (on air 8), 36 in Sindh (on air 19), 7 in Balochistan (on air 2), 7 in Azad Jammu Kashmir while 18 FM radio stations were being run by the universities of the country. Javed Mahmood, editor in-charge, The Nation Karachi, regretted that 95pc degree holders of Mass Comm in Karachi were not in a position to write accurate English while 80 per cent could not speak English. He said this drawback in mass communication system was causing problems in the hiring of fresh reporters and sub-editors in English newspapers. He proposed that all the students who get mass communication degree should be trained in such a manner that they could write good English and speak well English language. Jabbar Khattak, Prof Tauseef Ahmed, Tehmina Lodhi of Iqra University, Masroor Khanum of Federal University and others also spoke on the occasion.