April 13, 2012
Free access of journalists sought for reporting from conflict areas
The media and civil society professionals have sought end to role of intelligence agencies, free access to the conflict zones and proper training of media professionals for better, responsible and independent conflict reporting.
They expressed their views at a round table discussion with print media and civil society professionals on the topic of “Reporting Conflict” organized by the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) at a local hotel of Lahore on 13th April, 2012.
Media experts were of the opinion that following code of ethnics and proper training of journalists – those working in urban areas in general and those in far-flung remote areas in particular – was as important as freedom of press.
The representatives of the working journalists regretted that the growing commercialization of media organizations’ had affected the performance of the journalists, as some of the owners compromise on the standards of the journalism.
They further said that most of the media organizations’ owners had become editors which also deteriorated the quality and standards instead of promoting them. On the other hand, the editors were not opting for training of the working journalists, particularly in remote areas, where a sole correspondent was supposed to report everything.
Participants were of the view that basic problem in improper conflict reporting was that the state was not performing its duties towards right to information and security of working journalists and their organizations. They alleged that agencies had involvement in most of the murders of the working journalists, adding that the journalists too were opting to work on the agencies pay-roll. If, this trend would continue, then more journalists may be killed in the future.
The representatives of the civil society appreciated the freedom of the media, which was unprecedented, but also criticized the electronic media for sometime misusing their freedom.
They said some electronic media organizations were committing serious violations of the right of privacy and conducting debates on various socio-economic, political, critical legal and constitutional issues without leading to a concrete solution.
Senior Journalist Mr. Taseer Mustafa while deploring the role of the judiciary in non-arrest of the accused in journalists murder cases, wondered why the apex judiciary was not taking suo moto notices of killings of the journaists?
Mr. Zahid Islam from NGO Sangat termed unnecessary influence of state agencies in media organizations as basic hurdle in improper coverage of the conflicts. He said the country was passing through a process of formation, which had changed its whole context. In this situation, the working journalists associations should build pressure to bring change to the present situation, he added.
Mr. Zulfiqar Rahat, general secretary of the Lahore Press Club and Group Editor of the Din News, said that Indian media banned live coverage of incidents of terrorism after Mumbai attacks in 2008. He suggested there was need to formulate similar code of ethics and strictly implemented the same to overcome the minor issues taking place in the media of the country.
On the occasion, a report titled “report terrorism related conflict” prpepared by Intermedai was shared with the participants. Participants suggested that such report should be more representative rather focussing on Urban Centers.
SPO regional head and senior journalist Mr. Salman Abid, Rabia Baig of Internews, Mr. Zegham Khan, of Intermedia, PPI Islamabad Bureau Chief Adnan Iftikhar, Editor Daily Sindh Jaffer Memon, In-charge Jang Supplement Mr. Shahzad Ali Zulqarnain, In-charge Magazine Ms. Huma Mir, Ashraf Javed from the Nation, News Editor Jae Parkash, Safdar Hayat Dawar, president TUJ, Chief Editor daily Panjar Mr. M Akmal Ovaisi, Ms. Shirin Javed of Aurat Foundation Peshawar and others also shared their views during the round table discussion.
Moderator: Mr. Saeed Minhas
Event Coordinator: Lala Hassan, PPF
Mr. Jamil Athar, Editor, President CPNE, Daily Tijarat, Lahore
Mr. Salman Abid, Regional Head, SPO, Lahore
Mr. Ashraf Javed, Reporter, The Nation, Lahore
Mr. Adnan Iftikhar, Bureau Chief, PPI, Islamabad
Mr. Jai Parkash, News Editor, Daily Ibrat, Hyderabad
Mr. Jaffar Memon, Editor & President Hyderabad Press Club, Daily Sindh, Hyderabad
Mr. Safdar Hayat Dawar, Reporter & President TUJ, Daily Express, FATA
Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, Bureau Reporter, Daily Dawn, Multan
Ms Shirin Javed, Program Officer, Aurat Foundation, KPK
Mr. Zahid Islam, ED Sangat Foundation, Lahore
Mr. Zulfiqar Rahat, Group Editor, Daily Din, Lahore
Ms. Huma Meer, Magazine Editor, Daily Waqt, Lahore
Mr. Shehzada Ali Zulqurnain, Incharge, Special Edition Jang, Lahore
Mr. M Akmal Ovaisi, Chief Editor, Al-Panjar, Lahore
Mr. Taseer Mustafa, Senior Journalist- Ex-News Editor, Dunya-Jang, Lahore