Safma proposes direct communication links -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Safma proposes direct communication links

ISLAMABAD – Journalists from India and Pakistan on November 24, proposed their direct communication links for reporting and verifying happenings on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) to encounter government-sponsored propaganda.

The journalists were sharing their views on working conditions and experiences of reporting about the incidents on both sides of the LoC at a programme organized by the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club for the visiting Indian journalists’ delegation.

The delegation is led by the secretary-general of Indian chapter of South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) Vinod Sharma. Besides, the office-bearers of the Pakistani chapter of Safma and Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club, a good number of columnists, working journalists from print and electronic media, representatives of civil society organizations and educationists attended the function.

The speakers were of the view that due to non-existence of communication links between the journalists on both sides of the LoC, the media in both the countries was reporting exaggerated and one-sided versions of the events.

They said in the present age of satellite, it was difficult for any government to cover up human rights violations taking place in any part of the world. Vinod Sharma expressed the hope that the ongoing peace process would yield positive results as the governments in India and Pakistan had decided to demolish barriers.

“There are different phases, and perhaps sometimes results are not achieved according to the expectations, but we are moving in a right direction,” he added. Mr. Sharma said they had not come here with any political agenda, but to empower public views.

He said in the past 57 years, several myths had been created in the region which were now being demolished. However, he said, the normalisation of the situation would take time as it was a gradual process.

Mr. Sharma said earlier there was no dialogue and contact between the people and journalists of Kashmir, but due to the efforts of Safma, it was possible for both the sides to cross- check the facts.

The Indian journalist stressed the need for real time reporting of the events in the valley. “Once the real time reporting will start on both sides, the propaganda machines will automatically fail”, he said.

He also welcomed the decision of the Indian government regarding withdrawal of troops from Kashmir. “I don’t know the number of troops being withdrawn. However, it was a demand not only of Pakistan, but of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Renowned educationist Prof Khwaja Masud said they should look into future, instead of past. He was of the view that borders should not exist for journalists. He said the visit of Indian journalists was giving a glimpse of a bright future for the people of region.
Source: Dawn
Date:11/25/2004