Journalists highlight cyber intrusion, surveillance
Journalists say the atmosphere for reporting was becoming more hostile.
KARACHI: Senior journalists and editors hailing from different newspapers of KP, Balochistan and Sindh on Saturday talked about the new challenges facing their profession in recent years. Gathering for a round table meeting on Reporting Conflict at the Avari Hotel, journalists said that they worried over monitoring of their e mails and cell phone data. Another worry, they added, was the recruitment of party workers as journalists on the pressure of political parties.
In his presentation, Zaigham Khan of Intermedia Pakistan, a media-related NGO, presented findings of an anlysis done of how the Pakistani media reports terrorism related conflict. In this, he highlighted the disparity in reporting done by the print and the broadcast media.
Journalists said that the atmosphere for reporting was becoming more hostile. One participant pointed out that there was evidence to suggest that emails of stories filed by journalists were being monitored. Another said that the ease with which telecom companies allowed members of the general public to access the phone records and SMS records of their customers was a disturbing trend.
On the issue of security, Iqbal Khattak of Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) said that more training must be given to journalists in the field on how to work in conflict areas. Shahid Jatoi of the Jang Group highlighted the growing trend of self censorship.
Ali Yusafzai of Daily Aaj said that journalists need not turn into commandoes and should know when to stop taking risks.
Syed Shamsuddin of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also talked at length about what precautions need to be in place for journalists who were reporting in conflict areas. He lamented that this was not being practiced. Owais Aslam Ali of the Pakistan Press Foundation in his concluding remarks said that awareness was the start to creating better working conditions for journalists.