Workshop on conflict reporting held
KARACHI, July 14 2006 Speakers in a workshop in the city on July 13 suggested that a subject on disaster and conflict reporting should be introduced in mass communication departments of universities in the country. The seminar on ‘disaster, conflict reporting’ was arranged by International Committee of the Red Cross, which was addressed by Shamim Rehman, Nasir Beg Chughtai, Ms Layla Berlemont, Ms Humaira Ahmad and Raza Hamdani. Shamim Rehman shared his personal experience of covering Afghan war following Soviet occupation, civil war in Beirut and occupation of Lebanon by Israel.
He believed that first Gulf war totally changed the concept of conflict reporting as USA introduced ’embedded journalists’, which adversely, affected ‘objective journalism.
Talking about ‘domestic conflicts’ in Balochistan and Wana, Shamim Rehman believed that present crisis in Balochistan was different from conflict in 1970s due to involvement of ‘educated youths’ and ‘extra-regional interests. He claimed’ old tribal leadership’ was now replaced by the young men in Balochistan who were ‘better organized’ and have better sense of their rights. It is no more local conflict, he suggested, adding that it was part of global game as ‘Great GameII’ has started.
He regretted lack of access of media in Balochistan and Wana. Referring murder of journalist, Hayatullah in Wana, he suggested that owners of media should ensure insurance cover to those reporters who cover the conflicts. He warned that in camera trial of Hayatullah’s murder would create doubts about its fairness. Nasir Beg Chughtai talked about media coverage of 8th Oct. earthquake disaster in NWFP and Azad Kashmir. He suggested that media now should focus on reconstruction plan and possible irregularities in relief activities.
Raza Hamdani of ICRC believed that many people were still missing in the quake devastated areas and urged the media to publish and telecast picture of children so they could be located. Ms Humaira Ahmad of ICRC suggested that journalists while covering the armed conflicts should avoid doing any ad, which might jeopardize their civilian status. She also talked significance of International Humanitarian Law for limiting the use of force and harmful effects of the wars and conflicts.
Ms Layla Berlemont, communication coordinator of ICRC traced the history of Red Cross, starting from 1863 and its functions such as preventive action treatment with prisoners of war etc.
Source: The Nation