‘More needs to be done for press freedom’
By Shahid Husain
Karachi: Noted columnist Agha Masood Hussain said on Friday that for around 40 years there had been military governments in Pakistan that had a perception which hampered press freedom.
He made the observation at a seminar held at the Karachi Press Club on World Press Freedom Day. The seminar was organised under the auspices of Unesco.
“More is to be done for press freedom in Pakistan,” Hussain said. “Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan says freedom of press is a fundamental right.”
He said the government had completed its five-year tenure and “I believe it showed lots of tolerance”.
Hussain said pressure on the media existed in Karachi and Fata, and more than 200 journalists had sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
He said Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists leaders, especially Nisar Osmani who hailed from Lahore, and Minhaj Barna from Karachi played a vital role in the struggle for press freedom.
In Balochistan, he said, it was very difficult for a journalist to perform his duties, but despite odds reporters and photojournalists were carrying on with their duties and filing stories daily.
Hussain, however, made it clear that press freedom was not free for all. There should be ethics, the press council should be strengthened and judges included in the council because without check and balance there would be anarchy and chaos, he said.
“I suggest a charter based on ‘live and let others live’ motto,” he said. “Without a code of conduct the Pakistan society will not have a direction.”
Shahnaz Ramzi spoke on the ‘Role of women in the electronic media’. She said the electronic media had left behind the print media in Pakistan.
“Awareness is being created by the electronic media, especially amongst women. They are fighting for empowerment. Though women have not been given their due share in our society, they are taking a frontal role in the electronic media.”
Elaborating, Ramzi said women were emerging as good producers, directors and investigative journalists and it was a good omen. “I think women are more responsible. They have sensitivity.”
However, she lamented that women lagged behind in areas such as engineering and technical faculties. “Women are working in better environment in private channels,” she maintained.
General Manager, Information and Communication, HANDS, Bilquis Rehman, said the civil society and the media should work together to bring about a change in Pakistan society. “It’s the responsibility of the media and civil society to identify gaps in policymaking,” Rehman said. She said the media should be more responsible and unbiased, and issues related to women, children and minorities needed to be highlighted.
Source: The News