Specialised training of mediapersons on disaster reporting needed
ISLAMABAD: During disasters, more lives are lost due to panic created mainly by a huge communication gap between the media and disaster management authorities. In times, it also becomes difficult to reach people affected by disasters. And so, there is a need to prepare mediapersons for a proper disaster reporting.
This was agreed by participants of the “National consultative dialogue on the role of media in disaster management” organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Mediations Pakistan at a local hotel on Saturday.
Mediapersons, representatives from NDMA, politicians, analysts and civil society activists signed a declaration stating that members of the media industry should play a key role in effective and impact-oriented pre-disaster preparedness and early warning to citizens, especially vulnerable communities.
Moreover, it was decided to bridge the communication gap between the media and NDMA, PDMAs and all other government institutions for an entire spectrum of disasters from pre-disaster till the rehabilitation.
The participants also stressed the need for specialised training of mediapersons for disaster reporting as the media has a vital role in educating the citizens about the much-needed awareness, especially in the emerging and enhanced challenges of natural calamities in the wake of climate change.
They also agreed that vulnerable groups (children, women, elderly and people with disabilities) needed fair representation through the media. Moreover, the media should play its role to protect children as they are the agent of change.
They added that while reporting during a disaster the media should be objective and progressive to mitigate its effects through awareness, identification of gaps and providing forewarning to bring a positive improvement in the entire spectrum of disaster management.
They were also of the view that a mechanism should be devised with NDMA in the lead role for awareness, training, information management and continuous as well as consistent efforts for an enhanced engagement of the media in the disaster management.
NDMA Chairman Maj-Gen Asghar Nawaz said Pakistan was a land prone to disasters so we need a vigilant media to inform and educate the citizens to take preemptive measures in disasters.
“Media has an ability to become eyes and ears of the NDMA and guide us to plan better in the future,” he said.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Mussadaq Malik said a specialised training and expertise was required for media reporting during disasters.
“The role of media is pivotal in managing the impacts of a disaster and we need to learn from our mistakes,” he said.
Chairperson Pakistan Girl Guides Association Senator Nuzhat Sadiq said there was a need to educate the citizens to remain calm in case of any disaster because more lives were lost due to panic.
A representative of Mediations Pakistan Wajih Akhtar said Pakistan had a vibrant media industry therefore it was necessary to evolve it for the early warning and rehabilitation activities.