‘Journalists should follow code of ethics’
By Asad Farooq,
KARACHI: A three-day international conference on media agenda concluded here at the Arts Council of Pakistan on Thursday.
Senior journalists, media experts and intellectuals from Pakistan and overseas shed light on various aspects, particularly moral and ethical points of media-related matters.
The last day of the conference comprised two sessions: ‘Code of Ethics and Media Council’ and ‘Talk Shows and Breaking News’. The first session was presided over by Hussain Naqi, senior journalists and human rights activist.
Addressing the ceremony, he said code of conduct was the part of the Constitution of Pakistan, Federal Union of Journalists. “It means that the journalists are very much in favour of the code of ethics. Media houses and journalists will be given credibility in the society, if they follow the code of ethics.”
Aligarh Muslim University, India’s Prof Dr Shafey Kidwai said that it was necessary to have a code of ethics for journalists. He raised the importance of freedom of individuals and said self-proclaimed religious and political leaders should not try to set the agenda of society, adding, “They should leave individuals free to have their own choices.”
Dr Kidwai said a new society was emerging in India and Pakistan, different from the traditional one.
Senior Reporter, Fahim Siddiqui, said that Pakistan had an overwhelming majority of youth who could secure a very prosperous future of the country. He said pursuing journalism in Pakistan was a great challenge. “Yellow journalism not only destroys a society but is also against the ethics of journalism”, he added.
Maqsood Yousufi, editor of a daily, said that the Press Council of Pakistan was not the body that journalists demanded during their struggle for freedom of Press. The council established by the government was not free of the government’s influence, thus it cannot be termed as a free forum to address media.
Senior columnist Muqtada Mansoor said laws and code of ethics were not static. He said it was mandatory for journalists and media organisations to follow the code of ethics. He also stressed the need to revisit various clauses of the code of ethics.
Fahimuz Zaman, senior political analyst, said capital market in Pakistan was shrinking, advertising revenues on decline and it was becoming difficult for the media organisations to keep relying on advertisements revenue alone. He also criticised plagiarism being practiced by some journalists.
SZABIST Senior Media Researcher Dr Riaz Shaikh said that electronic media in Pakistan did not know exactly what breaking news was. “Even an ordinary cough by the Chief Justice becomes exclusive breaking news. Talk shows seem to be following script written by a film producer of Lollywood”, he added.
Wusatullah Khan, senior political analyst, said the most powerful medium today was a printed word even in the presence of electronic media. He said talk shows should focus on the problems being faced by the public and should not be agenda-specific.
Senior anchorperson Qatreena Hussain, political analyst Qaiser Mahmood, Shaheen Salahuddin, senior journalist, Mujahid Brelvi, Tahir Hassan, Farhad Zaidi, Hussain Naqi, Masood Ashar, Nasir Abbas, Ahmed Shah and Prof Dr Shafey Kidwai also expressed their views on the occasion.