‘Media persons should prepare for accountability’
ISLAMABAD: Calling accountability within the journalist community need of the hour, Daily Times editor and veteran media expert, Rashed Rahman, on Tuesday, warned media persons to be prepared for accountability at the hands of outside actors if they did not take the initiative themselves.
Rahman was addressing a seminar titled ‘‘Media, Democracy and Public Interest”, organised by the Society for Alternative Media and Research (SAMAR) at a local hotel. He said that media was more vibrant today as it had struggled to get freedom from dictatorial regimes as well as democratic governments, but this struggle is still on. He said the journalists had rendered a lot of sacrifices, which led to easing of restrictions on them in the Muhammad Khan Junejo era. However, the Ziaul Haq regime extended undue favours to journalists, which included giving them plots and other privileges, he noted.
Rahman said the electronic media should desist from acting as policy maker, and should instead focus on reporting news. He said if any anchor wanted to suggest something, he should do so by making it clear to the viewers that it was his or her opinion. If they don’t do this, they would be guilty of yellow journalism.
Leading journalists, including Rana Anjum, Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Zafarullah Khan, Marvi Sirmed, Siddique Baloch, Jabbar Khattak, Mirza Yousuf Baig, Murtaza Solangi, Muhammad Ziauddin and others spoke on the occasion. They emphasised the need to understand the shortcomings of the media, governance and democracy in Pakistan, and called for finding explanations for the weaknesses in political tolerance and identity.
The participants said that media in Pakistan was in a transitional phase since 1985. They noted that in 1963, President Ayub promulgated the Press and Publication Ordinance to gag the media. Media personnel had to work under restrictions because of this ordinance, but later on, the Musharraf regime eased restrictions and media became more vibrant and instrumental.
The participants said media should make the masses aware of current affairs and should avoid filtering news or views. Freedom of media was achieved to inform the masses, not to block the flow of information to them, they said while suggesting establishment of a self-regulatory and self-evaluation system within media.
Source: Daily Times