Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) In Collaboration with NED Report of Workshop with rural journalists on “Human Rights and the role of Media”
October 22-24 2012
Media has emerged as voice of voiceless people in Pakistan and many people have received relief for the vibrant and independent reporting of the journalists. Human Rights violations in Pakistan have been exposed by both print and electronic media courageously. Pakistani state should honour the international declarations and conventions and ensure basic rights of citizens enshrined by the Constitution of Pakistan.
This was the gist of the of a 3-day workshop on “Human Right and the Role of Media” organized by Pakistan Press Foundation with the support of NED from October 22-24, 2012 at Tharparkar Press Club Mithi. The workshop was attended by 26 Journalists and the representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
Participants said Media had exposed Human Rights violations but the governments of different era had failed to prosecute those accused, who were involved in violations. Media exposed high handedness of Police and security agencies as well. The issue of missing person was also highlighted by Media and then Superior Courts took the cognizance of the issue.
They said Media and NGOs should strictly oppose the dictatorial steps of both military and political governments; while focusing on the destruction caused by Martial Laws in Pakistan. Media and NGOs should support democratic processes in the country inspite of all weaknesses.
Participants suggested that NGOs should work with media to high light the rights of women and children. They said there was communication among NGOs and Media that should be reduced.
They said media exposed high profile cases like killing of Sialkot brother, Kharotabad incident in Balochistan and killing of a youth by Rangers in Karachi and many other human rights violation were exposed and such issues got attention of higher judiciary as well.
Participants urged that government should take steps to stop unannounced impunity to the perpetrators of attacks on Journalists and media. They said Pakistan had been declared dangerous country for journalist as 11 journalists had been assassinated in the country during current year 2012.
They said country like Pakistan can not afford martial law or dictatorial approach of governance and there should be good governance to protect the rights of common folks in the country.
Speakers said even in the days of capitalist society, where everyone had been running behind personal benefits, media had played its role with great responsibility. Media had been playing pro-people role inspite its weaknesses.
Ali Akbar Rahimo, Dr. Noor Ahmad Janjhi, Ashok Sothar, Kirshan Sharma, PPP leader Pertab, Lala Hassan of PPF and others while speaking during panel discussions on “Human Rights issues and role of media” and Role of Media in high lighting Human Rights issues said media had been spreading awareness among masses on Human Rights but it should more focus on Human Rights education as to provide Justice to the affected people. Media had highlighted public interest issues like bonded labour, forced marriages, Health issues, deaths of children, pain in knees/ eye sight affected due to bad water etc.
They said even influential persons were afraid of Media and they avoid to victimize people publicly otherwise it was practice in rural area particularly. Participants said due to capitalism and the interests of owners, working journalists were facing many problems at all levels including finance and capacity. They said TV channels and Newspapers were playing better role but those were urban centered; while Radio had the access to the masses, so Human Rights issues should be given priority on radio as well.
Group activities like discussion on UDHR, Fundamental Rights chapter in the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, writing news, issuing Press release, use of photo graphs and organizing Press Conference and Interviews. Practical exercise of writing News, Press release and groups work were conducted during three day workshop.
Later, Certificates were awarded among participants by Chief Guest Mr. Tahir Memon, Assistant Commissioner, Mithi.