Draft code of conduct for news reporting in children issue -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Draft code of conduct for news reporting in children issue

KARACHI- The federal government has prepared a draft of code of conduct for news reporting on children issues, to be introduced after consultations with NGOs and media organisations.

The proposed draft would be presented for consultations at provincial and national level workshops before giving it final shape. It would be implemented after completion of consultative process.

The first consultative workshop in this connection was held at local hotel here on June 28, 2003 organized by Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education. The representatives of media and NGOs from Sindh and Baluchistan attended the programme.

Addressing the workshop, Rahila Tiwana, Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly’ urged to end double standard attitude towards children throughout the world and treat them equally.

She said that children are being treated with double standards in US and Third World countries. Children of Iraq and Afghanistan should also be given importance like the children living in US and other developed countries, she added.

Rahila applauded the role of print media especially regional newspapers in promoting awareness among the people regarding the problems being faced by the children.

She criticized the role of government electronic media and said that it should focus on science and technology instead of telecasting the programmes like Ainak Wala Jin.

Rahila Tiwana emphasized the need for promotion of technical training for children along with the formal education.

Muhammad Hassan Man Director, NCCWD while hi-lighting the programme said that misreporting on issues involving children needs careful consideration of the professional journalists, media organizations, senior editors, columnists, owners of the news organizations, the ministries of information and women development and other stakeholders.

It is very important that reporters must understand sexual abuse and exploitation of children he said adding that they need to be careful while using words describing children in crisis and abuse situations. Media persons could take a role of a caretaker of children in difficult circumstances while quoting their testimony or statement in the Press in case they could be in trouble after disclosure of their vulnerability and victimization.

Muhammad Hussain said that a responsible behavior could be generated through capacity building of journalists and development and adoption of a code of conduct for reporting on issues involving children through a consultative and participatory process.

He said that a draft code of conduct for reporting on issues involving children based on the guidelines set by the federal government through its commitments to the cause of children, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and International Federation of Journalists would be prepared to present it before the stakeholders after another provincial level and one national level consultative workshop to be held in July-August 2003.

Mangi said that the draft would be shared with all possible – stakeholders including NCCWD, Line Ministries, media groups/ organizations, Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors, (CPNE), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Editors Council (PEC), – Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and others. The draft Code of Conduct would be presented before the participants of all the three workshops to get – their input for its finalization and adoption by state and private media, he added.

Muhammad Hussain told that next workshop would be held at Lahore to cover Punjab and NWFP. A workshop would be held at Islamabad after provincial level workshops. This workshop would cover participants from Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas he maintained.

He said that process of adoption of the Code of Conduct would be participatory diversified participants representing media, NGOs and government would finalize the draft with file ownership of the code, so that it could be implemented in letter and spirit.

Mangi said that workshop sessions would cover the child rights issues, legislation, development and protection issues, child abuse, sexual and commercial sexual exploitation and role of media on reporting these issues followed by a group work in which the code of conduct would be presented for inputs from the journalists and other stakeholders.

All in the closing plenary would adopt file final draft as a code of conduct for reporting on issues involving children, he added.

Earlier, the participants came from different areas of Sindh and Baluchistan gave different suggestions on principles, code of conduct on reporting child issues, guidelines to protect child rights while reporting and regarding other aspects.
Source: The Nation