Awareness about citizens' media rights stressed -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Awareness about citizens’ media rights stressed

KARACHI – Former information minister and founding convenor of Citizens’ Media Commission of Pakistan (CMCP) Javed Jabbar on July 26 stressed for creating awareness about citizens’ media rights and their responsibilities.

In a lecture and presentation on citizens’ media rights and their Responsibilities in Karachi at a local hotel, he said citizens of Pakistan are not playing their due role in promotion of media in the country so it becomes immensely important to educate them of their rights, responsibilities and role.

He said community-based media should be promoted in which people from all parts of the country could participate and work for betterment of their respective communities.

Javed Jabbar maintained that many Pakistani newspapers were much better in quality than Indian newspapers but unfortunately local papers were costly due to the use of imported newsprint and paying 40 percent to the hawkers.

Speaking on citizens’ rights in the context of media in general, he said all citizens, indeed all human beings including children, youth, adults and senior citizens, should have easy access to all forms of media.

Such access being subject to just and fair law and universally recognised principles of human rights.

The citizens should be able to choose options within each medium rather than be dependent on only one source or medium to receive media content, which is reasonably balanced between news, analysis, programming content and advertising, he added.

He said citizens should have convenient access to information about identities of persons and organisations in regard to media ownership, management control of media, source of funding and on other financial aspects.

“Citizens should have fair and convenient access to independent and credible mechanisms, to hold them accountable for accuracy, fairness and balance,” he said, adding that they also have the right to access all media at reasonable and preferably low cost.Pointing out some more rights, he said citizen have the right to be given appropriate time and space in media directly without charge in case media content is inaccurate, misleading or defamatory about a citizen or the community to which a citizen belong and right to own and operate non-profit public service media without being obliged to pay auction based fees.

“When citizens sent letters or complaints to media about aspects of media content, they should receive acknowledgements/replies from the media.

If the letters or complaints are conveyed in appropriate language citizen also have the right to know how the media content they being exposed to, is being presented in other parts of the country, region, or the world through other editions or versions of the same media.

Citizens, particularly youth and children, have the right to be imparted media literacy and be informed on media issues as part of their general education, he added.

Telling about citizens’ media responsibilities, he said citizens should help to ensure that all media function freely as per the law of the country in which the media are based and the media are allowed to similarly function freely across region and across the globe.

“Citizens should launch campaigns to change and improve unjust and unduly media laws and also struggle for pluralism in media,” he added.

They should originate content and contribute to media content and not remain passive consumers of media output while they should create and operate civil society forums that serve as independent bodies to monitor media policies, practices and content.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:7/27/2004