Journalists sensitised on torture issue
LAHORE: Though Pakistan is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), a lot more work remains to be done at home in terms of legislation against torture, a group of journalists from various print, electronic and broadcast organisations was told at a media workshop on issue of torture.
The two-day workshop was organised by Individualland, an Islamabad-based consultancy, in collaboration with Foundation for Open Society Institute at a local hotel. The workshop was first in the series of 11 due to be staged in various parts of the country as the organisers take a major initiative on how media reports the issue of torture.
“Media should be cautious while reporting on issue of torture as there is a tendency to inadvertently use the derogatory language against torture victims as most of the torture cases are reported directly from police files,” said Wajahat Masood, a prominent journalist and moderator of the event. The media persons present in the workshop noted that there was less awareness, especially in the rural areas on the issue of torture in custody. Also the journalists stressed the need for training police officials and lower judiciary to sensitise these fundamental institutions on the issue of torture.
“We need to keep in mind the difference between torture which almost always involves state’s complicity and violence which can be unintentional and without an objective,” he said.
The objectives of the initiative are to sensitise the print media regarding the subject of torture and help eradicate the practice of torture from the state structures. The training will also focus on the criminal justice system, understandings of legal and human rights activists on the subject of torture.
Individualland Pakistan (IL-Pakistan) is an active non-partisan, not-for-profit registered civil society group. Since its inception, IL has worked on pertinent issues in respect to governance, rule of law, media communication skills, strengthening civil society and democratic development. The project also aims at advocacy of this important issue by using media platforms.