Coverage of terrorist incidents needs to go through boot camp
Speakers at a seminar on media role during crisis and conflict situation called for training of the media persons covering such events and better editorial control of live reports and footage shown by electronic media.
They said that conflict reporting was a specialised field, but unfortunately, in Pakistan no training is given to working journalists to cover such incidents.
Speaking at the seminar on “Crisis/conflict management and media communication plan” Maj Gen (r) Athar Abbas said that International Federation of Journalists has issued code of conduct and a charter of duties for covering in conflict situation but the media organisations do not bother to educate, train or provide any protective equipment to their field staff.
He also said that lack of editorial control on live coverage of conflict situations on electronic media was also a reason for excessive coverage of terrorists activities.
Brig (r) Shaukat Qadir said that lack of credibility of the government in the eyes of the masses creates a vacuum and various banned organisations take advantage of such situations. He was of the opinion that the government and the concerned agencies should acknowledge their limitations to the general public so that the people are mentally prepared for any situation.
He said that as a nation we have heroes in war against terrorism including 15 year old boy Aitzaz Hassan and DSP Chaudhry Aslam but they were not given due coverage.
Shaukat Qadir said that policy makers should share changes in national policies on strategic issues, as by doing so media would at least understand the state policy even if it does not agree with it.
National Press Club President, Shahryar Khan, said that first of all there were little opportunities for training for journalists, but unfortunately, new entrants in the field were least interested in getting training.
He said that if a journalist gets injured in an accident and applies for a leave, he is sent home by the proprietors. He said that out of 42 journalists killed during war on terror, perpetrators were brought to the book in only one case.