Conference stresses need for ethical journalism
ISLAMABAD: Improved working conditions for media persons, professional training and state support for free media were termed vital for the promotion of ethical journalism in the country.
These views were expressed by senior media persons and activists at a two-day annual conference of Pakistan Coalition of Ethical Journalism (PCEJ) titled ‘Ethical Dilemmas for Media in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities.’ The conference was organised by Rozan.
Participants, including seasoned media personalities, members of journalist bodies and civil society activists extensively discussed issues linked to ethical journalism in Pakistan and their solutions.
They said that curbs on media by state had never been able to implement ethical journalism but it actually had always introduced new dimension of unethical practices. They emphasised that to maintain media ethics, the government, media owners and civil society have to play a collective role so that media can help to completely eradicate violence, disorder and negative trends from society.
Seasoned journalist, Ghazi Salahuddin, highlighted the challenges faced by print media in Pakistan. He said that relationship of media and state plays vital role in determining the media trends for a healthy society. While drafting media policies, he stressed the need to keep in mind the role played by social media.
Senior journalist, M. Ziauddin Ahmed, said that growing number of media organisations and diminishing role of editors has played a major role in worsening the status of media ethics. He said that since the creation of Pakistan, no government was able to contribute in developing media ethics. “Rather the governments have always tried to make media follow suit and this has enhanced mistrust among the both.”
Analyst and senior journalist, Mazhar Abbas, viewed that government has always tried to suppress and buy journalists, instead of giving media freedom. He shared the history of state-media relationship.
Talking about the role of government, he stressed the need to keep check on issuance of declarations. He said that there are 17,000 declarations issued in Sindh alone.
Nazeer Laghari pointed out that there has been a deterioration of media ethics due to the political affiliation of the journalists. “From observers and monitors, media has slowly acquired the role of players,” he added.
Media expert and columnist, Adnan Rehmat, said that during the last 12 years, more than 1200 journalists have been murdered in the world, and 113 of them were from Pakistan. He urged all stakeholders to take serious measures for the safety of journalists.
Sohail Sangi, a Sindhi and English media journalist from Hyderabad, suggested that media ethics must be given extra importance in the curriculum of mass communications departments and young working journalists must be imparted orientation regarding media ethics through conducting workshops and seminars.
In the beginning of programme, Rozan Managing Director Babar Bashir highlighted various activities of his organisation during the year 2014.