Over 3.3m child workers in Pakistan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Over 3.3m child workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI – The Department of Communication Sciences, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), in collaboration with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, organised a lecture on the topic of “Child labour and media reporting” here on Tuesday.

The lecture was part of the ILO’s ongoing national media plan of action to sensitise the media persons about the child labour issues in the country and giving basic training to Mass Communication students before entering into their practical field.

National Project Manager of ILO Saba Mohsin Raza, briefed the audience about the issue of child labour in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, she remarked that Pakistan is experiencing worst forms of child labour with over 3.3 million child workers, including high ratio in the Punjab province, mainly due to lack of education and health facilities.

“This grave situation is ruining not only the health of child workers but also their future in addition to eclipsing the country’s image in the outer world”, she added.

She said, “This social menace demands of all stakeholders to take more practical initiatives so that the situation could effectively be rectified and in this respect the role that the media can play is worth mentioning”.

Quoting the 1996 study done by Federal Bureau of Statistics, National Project Manager ILO, Ms Saba said that over 3.3 million child workers exist in Pakistan. She further revealed that Punjab is found to be having the highest number of child workers with a staggering 60 percent in the national aggregate followed by 20 percent in the NWFP and 14 percent in Sindh, 6 percent in Balochistan.

She termed these growing statistics a point of serious concern for all the stakeholders and said, “It is our collective responsibility to come up with practical steps to control this menace.”

She mentioned that the ILO and government’s partnership was going very strong and the cooperation from the government was exemplary in taking more initiatives in eradicating the child labour.

Ms Saba Mohsin was of the view that creating public awareness could be an effective medium in this regard and major responsibility lies with the national media. The media persons have the potential to develop masses’ opinion through their reports and writings on certain issues.

She urged the students to know the requirement and seriousness of their profession regarding the sensitivity of different social issues in the country and advised them to adopt a positive approach in their professional life.

Javed Chuuhdhry, a columnist, in his discussion, briefed the audience about the ethics of reporting and media’s role in developing a positive opinion on social issues particularly child labour.

He focused on the present condition and future prospects of the issue. Javed Ch. said, “The child labour is a serious problem in our society and in order to promote awareness among the people, the greater responsibility lies on media.”

Media, being the torch-bearer of the society, should play its role to project the social issues that affect a large portion of the society, he added.

He was of the view that rising number of working children is a major point of concern for the relevant authorities as well as the society.

He further said that through media they could create public awareness about the negative effects of this social menace.

The lectures were followed by a question-answer session. A large number of students attended the lecture and actively took part in the discussions. At the end, Ms Sadia Ishtiaq, Lecturer, Communication Sciences Department, paid the vote of thanks to the audience for being a part of the lecture and the ILO team for organising a fruitful lecture for the students.
Source: The Nation
Date:5/7/2008