Code of ethics for TV channels -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Code of ethics for TV channels

IT has been noticed that most of our TV channels do not observe a sense of responsibility and brazenly flout the requisites of our social norms.

On top of it all, is the so-called ‘news’ and its oft-repeated tickers on heinous crimes like rape, particularly those involving minors, horrible killings, robberies, all sorts of family feuds, litigations in criminal courts and lots of other ugly and third-degree crimes and happenings in our increasingly degenerated and corrupt society.

It would not be an exaggerated statement that in some cases such news reports and other programmes which are based on these subjects are breeding more crimes. These are less informative and more sensational, motivational and persuasive.

The same is the case with the so-called ‘breaking news’ which mostly reports crimes, accidents or family feuds with no news value.

According to textbooks of journalism, news is not if a dog bites a man, but is if a man bites a dog. Our news channels seem to follow this principle as a guiding epitaph while airing breaking news.

PTV seems to be sticking to the traditions it inherited from Radio Pakistan, the premier institution of broadcasting in the country.

In view of the mushroom growth of private satellite television channels and their current race to win a larger viewership, there is a need for a code of conduct.

Because of these satellite channels, broadcasts are viewed in most parts of the world. What image of Pakistan are these channels building in the outside world?
It is, therefore, incumbent upon the TV networks themselves to devise voluntarily a code of ethics in line with that of the one that is followed in the civilised world. A line has to be drawn between the dos and don’ts.

It may be recalled that some TV channels had devised last year a voluntary and self-imposed ban on live coverage of terrorism-related gory incidents. This was a positive move. Barring a few slips here and there, there is a sense of self-censorship implemented satisfactorily.

As we mostly live in joint family systems where the elderly and young men and women with children watch television programmes in one room, such visual reports of domestic and other forms of violence tend to seem awkward.

ANIS SIDDIQUI
Islamabad
Source: Dawn
Date:1/20/2011