Code of ethics for journalists in the offing
ISLAMABAD: A report regarding performance of media and its drawbacks “Asian Media Barometer” was launched by a non government organisation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), on Thursday.
The report claimed that some positive changes have occurred because of media activism, during the last three years in Pakistan. There is more awareness amongst citizens against biased, unethical and irresponsible journalism.
There is currently a code of ethics, in process, and is being designed by different media groups but a consensus is yet to be achieved. The Press Council of Pakistan, which was non-operative for many years has become functional and has started asserting its ambit, the report claims.
With the return of democracy in 2008, the media has also started giving airtime to all political parties. Bad governance and corruption are constantly exposed, the report elaborated.
On the other hand because of the popularity and growing influence of the media, journalists have become a target for violence. Over 30 journalists killed in the last three years, is a clear indicator that killings of journalists and pressure on media by non-state-actors have increased, the report claimed.
The report adds “there is also continued impunity for those that attack the media. An example of this is the murder of Saleem Shahzad, journalist killed in 2011, after he allegedly received threats from Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). This has resulted in fear among the journalist community as a judicial commission investigating the murder failed to find the killers”.
“This can be attributed to a flawed criminal justice system, which doesn’t have a witness protection system. It was also observed that the civil state in Pakistan is weakening and Pakistan is becoming a security state,” the report stated.
The report mentioned that there is a lack of conflict training for journalists and an absence of code within organisations about security issues. Media organisations don’t feel the obligation to take care of journalists.
Resident Director FES Philip Kaupert while speaking to participants said that all the inputs for the report were collected at a local level due to which it is authentic.
Member of National Assembly Bushra Gohar, human rights activist Tahira Abdulla and journalist Fahad Hussain, participated in the event.