Police-media liaison vital for responsible reporting: Rashid
Islamabad – Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rashid Friday said that close liaison and coordination among senior police officers and media can result in cohesive messaging that would have a positive impact, rather than creating panic among the people.
He said this was particularly true about incidents of terrorism which require responsible reporting by media and serious comments by the concerned officials of the government.
It would only be possible when both the media and the government security officials are on the same wavelength and have professional linkage among them, he added.
The minister said this while addressing as chief guest at the opening session of one-day training workshop on counterterrorism strategic communication and media engagement for senior law enforcement agencies officers.
He said it was responsibly of the media and state institutions to provide the masses correct and timely information which would also help counter rumour mongering.
The minister, while highlighting evil deeds of the terrorists and negative impact of their behaviours, said that it also needs to be emphasised that such elements should not get any support from the society.
The people should be convinced that such elements are exploiting religious sentiments of the innocent people and collecting money in the name of charities which ultimately are used in making bombs and suicide jackets to kill innocent people, he said.
This task cannot be fulfilled by any single institution but everybody has to play its role as a national obligation, he added.
The minister was of the view that the sacrifices of the police department were not less than any other institution as they fight terrorists, robbers and smugglers in harsh weather conditions and due to their sacrifices, Pakistan is a safer place now.
He asked the police department to further improve its liaison with media so that they get verified information and spread of rumours is discouraged.
The minister said communication with media has become a challenging task because of the fast and diverse growth of information technology.
He said despite introduction of new means of communication, the traditional media including newspapers, radio and television are still recognised as indispensable of mass communication.
The media houses have transformed and developed into an industry and they have their own compulsions and internal competition.
The minister said the changing socio-political and security environment has created new challenges for all institutions of the society.
“There are various considerations before us while dealing with any development around us,” he added.
He said that different institutions look at the happenings from different angles and act or react differently.
The media gathers facts as well as the versions and communicate to the people at large.
“An important factor here is the sense of responsibility, both on the part of those who express their opinion and the media which conveys the message,” he said.
He said it was incumbent upon all involved in this business of communication to be factually correct and candid, while disseminating any information.
He said that in presence of latest communication technology nothing can be brushed under the carpet.
Moreover, the common people have access to various means of procuring information and also the methods to transmit information including social media tools.
The minister said he was proud of the small team of professionals working in the research and communication project of an attached department of IB&NH ministry.
He said that they have conducted a number of researches; and developed numerous media products, and have successfully disseminated the messages and also developed different modules to train the government officials on strategic communications and its positive results are coming to fore.
Commenting on its media campaign about sacrifices of the police department, he said that the people do not know much about the martyrs of bomb disposal squad like Hukam Khan who sacrificed his life while disposing of a bomb.
He said that all over the world bomb disposal squads personnel are provided protective equipment but here they have to risk their lives for protecting lives of the common people.
He said that there was need to highlight the sacrifices of the people like Hukam Khan whose two sons have volunteered to join the same squad after their father’s martyrdom.