Govt asked to take steps for journalists’ protection
ISLAMABAD: Participants of a media conference on Monday urged the government to take concrete steps for the safety and security of journalists in the country and devise effective legislation on the matter as Pakistan is the most dangerous place for practicing journalism in the world.
This was the crux of first day of two-day conference titled 5th National Media Conference organised by Individulland Pakistan in the collaboration with Friendrich Nauman Foundation (FNF). The conference was attended by senior journalists, civil society and media support organisations.
The participants said that risks faced by journalists especially in far flung areas of the country in reporting conflict, crime and corruption are growing with passing day therefore government need to do effective legislation as well as give assurance that any issue related to the security of the media or media personnel would be handled on a priority basis.
They also urged media persons to stick to responsible journalistic ethics while reporting on different issues and asked owners and government to farm code of conduct for working journalists.
“Your own morality is the most important code of conduct for you.” This was stated by senior journalist and anchor, Talat Husain. “We have forgotten the flight of journalist working in Interior Sindh, Baluchistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan and our attention remains on the mainstream media.”
He said that in Pakistan, more than 90 per cent of the working journalists are devoid of basic facilities. He further added that the role of desk has virtually finished and there is no proof reading, which is one of the main reasons for poor quality of journalism.
Suleman Raja, senior journalist, highlighted that more than 42 journalists have been killed in Pakistan in the last couple of years. “However, only a few have been provided with compensation.”
Iqbal Khattak, National Coordinator on Journalists Safety, posed a question to the participants that “have we ever asked our parent organisations for safety standards or standard operating procedures (SOPs)?” he further added that “there has to be a demand of SOPs if we want its supply.”
Dr Jabbar Khattak, chairman project and Programme Committee was of the view that “the media consumers must step forward to ensure that the disconnect within the media is reduced.”
Fahad Hussain, senior journalist, was of the view that “disconnect within in the media is mostly due to the corporate interests of the owners. However, the journalists must raise their voices for themselves, if they want their condition to be improved.” On day two of the National Media Conference, discussions will be held on Media and Democracy and Development Journalism.