Media urged for more efforts to operate as public trustees -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media urged for more efforts to operate as public trustees

Islamabad – Speakers at a conference on Saturday said media persons should put in more aggressive efforts to operate as trustees of the public, seek the truth, report it objectively and stand accountable for their actions.

The two-day media roundtable conference on ‘Electronic Media: Democracy and Extremism’ was organised by South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) here.

The main focus of the conference was on five debating points – sustaining or eroding democracy; safeguarding public interest or creating panic; promoting extremism/terrorism or tolerance; facts or passions; and following or flouting professional ethics.

The speakers said the electronic media playing a highly important role in educating people on various social and political issues should seek and pursue truth aggressively and present the news accurately without indulging in sensationalism.

“The electronic media is passing through its transition phase but we must admit that it has now become an important tool against oppressive forces,” they said.

They said the media persons, considered highly informative and responsible professionals, should give utmost priority to integrity and decency of the news and intelligence of the audience and the subjects of the news.

Zafar Abbas, resident editor of daily ‘Dawn,’ said there has been a divided opinion on the issue of terrorism as the political parties are yet to develop a consensus among them in this respect.

“Some parties consider military action in FATA as killing of innocent people while some other think it necessary to curb militancy and restore writ of the government in the restive areas,” he said.

He said the terms like ‘mulla journalists’ and ‘liberal fascists’ are being used in the society, so there is a need to develop a consensus on what to do to tackle the menace of terrorism.

Asma Sherazi, a famous anchor person, said the newsmen should welcome the criticism and must hold themselves accountable before the people as it would help them improve their professional skills.

“I salute those journalists and anchor persons who stood against a military dictator and joined hands with the pro-democratic forces in the face of brutal state policies,” she said.

Anjum Rasheed, anchor person of GEO television, said the media should let the people know about what to think about with regard to any issue. He said there might be some imbalance in the coverage of terrorist activities, but “I hope we can be able to remove our weaknesses.”

Imtiaz Alam, a senior journalist, said there is a thin line between subjective and objective reporting and “we must keep it in mind in pursuance of our professional duties.” He said every media organization has an ideology and neutrality that must be sustained in any kind of situation. “The media persons must fight to uphold the integrity and dignity of their profession despite facing innumerable challenges.” Tahira Abdullah, a social activist, said those who sided with the military dictator and tried to dent the democratic process are now ‘up in arms’ against the media organizations.

“Undemocratic forces should keep it in mind that pro-democratic forces would never ever bow down and continue their struggle to promote democracy in the country,” she said.

Shireen Pasha said the investigative reporting needs thorough research, manpower, equipment and time and the media persons really work hard to collect news data.
Source: The News
Date:12/4/2008