Media urged to ensure self-accountability, self-regulation
LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar have urged the media industry to put in place mechanism to ensure self-accountability and self-regulation besides adopting a professionally responsible role by religiously following relevant rules and regulations.
The Punjab University’s Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) organised the seminar titled ‘Role of Media in Current National Scenario’ in collaboration with the Pakistan National Forum (PNF) at its Hameed Nizami Memorial Conference Room on Thursday where Senator SM Zafar, Dr Mujahid Mansoori, Salman Ghani, Dr Ajmal Niazi, Attaur Rehman, Mian Habibullah, Colonel (r) Ikramullah and Air Marshal (r) Anwar Mehmood Khan spoke to a large number faculty members and students.
Speaking on the occasion, renowned jurist SM Zafar raised serious questions regarding the role of media in the prevailing scenario. He asked journalists as to why was there a division within the media industry; how was the media free when owners of media houses have their own agendas; why was the media not focusing on social issues like population growth, which was an alarming threat to the nation; and why were allegations of bribery being hurled against media persons? He said that no doubt the media had played a great role since independence of the country but that now it was its duty to focus on national social issues.
Renowned scholar Dr Mujahid Mansoori said that the media had spread awareness and mass education in Pakistani society besides helping in weakening the VIP culture and class distinction. He urged the media industry to put in place self-regulation and self-accountability mechanisms and strictly follow the laws of the land. Responding to a concern raised, he said that none of the channels was ‘an Indian agent’ and that it was actually a matter of “irresponsibility” shown by the media house.
Renowned journalist Salman Ghani said that instead of only ‘zooming in’ on protest demonstrations in Islamabad, the media industry must play its impartial and responsible role to help the country counter all internal and external challenges in a positive way. “The real issues of Pakistan are corruption, poverty, unemployment, inflation and electricity outages and the media must play its role in highlighting these issues,” he added.
ICS Director Dr Noshina Saleem said that the media had undoubtedly played an important and responsible role in spreading awareness and guiding the countrymen; however, unhealthy competition to break the news first and sensationalism for the sake of achieving better ratings had damaged the media industry’s image in society.
Mian Habibullah, the editor of an Urdu-language daily, Din, said that the country was facing the issues of floods and internally displaced persons (IDPs); however, the media was mainly focusing on two sit-ins in Islamabad by ignoring other crucial challenges being faced by the country. “Until economic freedom of media houses is achieved, Pakistani media cannot become independent and impartial,” he added.
PNF President Col (r) Ikramullah said that the media had highlighted the issues of economy, poverty and other social ills; however, more efforts were required to make the media more professional and responsible.
Air Marshal (r) Anwar Mehmood Khan said that all state institutions needed to exercise discipline but that it was unfortunate that the media, which was an important pillar of the state, seriously lacked the element of discipline.
ICS students and teachers actively participated in the interactive session during the seminar. They asked thought-provoking questions from guest speakers while almost all of the speakers praised the ICS and the PNF for organising such a lively event.