Media urged to set up accountability institution -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media urged to set up accountability institution

By Haris Hanif

KARACHI: The responsibility of media is to inform people instead of playing the role of a judge and it should perform responsibly, leaving the judgment to the people, said Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology Mass Communication Department ex-vice chairman Prof Tauseef Ahmed.

He said this at a meeting titled ‘Why do we need media democracy?’ organised under the aegis of National Organisation for Working Communities (NOWC) in collaboration with Society for Alternative Media and Research (SAMAR) at a local hotel Tuesday. The moot stressed the need to set up an intuition to carry out media accountability in order to make it impartial.

Prof Tauseef said there was no editorial institution in the electronic media while incontrovertible rules of news were not being applied in the electronic media.

He said it was tantamount to ruining the lives of families by showing them on television on the pretext of justice. The media should be accountable to itself because if any state institution tried to control it, the matter would go in the favour of the state, he added.

He maintained that the civil society institutions held the accountability of media in the whole world and stressed the need to establish the institution of an editor in the electronic media to boost the accountability process.

Prominent journalist Imran Sherwani highlighted the significance of news contents over competition or interests, saying that media was much more influential than other institutions.

Underlining the need of promoting community media, he said the media was a double-edged sword, which can depict the true picture only with sincerity and impartiality. Herald’s Badar Alam said that media was only focusing on urban issues and matters, while ignoring the real rural issues.

He said financial matters have become the mainstream of media, while many stories could not find a place due to lesser commercial interests. As a citizen, we must be aware that who was providing the financial support to media and using it for personal interest, he added.

He was of the view that a reporter should disclose his sources in controversial news stories, in order to tell people about their authenticity. He said the media that pose as campaign for people’s rights was reluctant to care for their own employees.

Vehemently criticising the practice of interfering in personal matters of people and ignoring important issues, he said the process of acquiring information must be legal. He stressed the need to establish internal ombudsman accountability in each media organisation and the revival of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) units in newsrooms. Senior journalist Shamimur Rehman said the media was not reflecting the people’s voice in true sprit. Today, the media was being run as a business or personal interest, he added.

“How could there be democracy in media if there is dearth of democracy in the country,” he questioned. Alternative media fly where literacy rates are high, he said, adding that media-bearers did not want its accountability, as it has become a mafia, which was even stronger than the government.

SAMAR Executive Director Mazhar Arif said that journalism was public service, however, it was becoming a business. He was of the view that more feudalism existed in the media as compared to other sectors, adding that though Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was overseeing electronic media, there were no laws for the print media.
Source: Daily Times
Date:11/10/2010