Pakistani media distracted from original track: Experts
Islamabad – Speakers at a seminar are unanimous in view that media in the country had detracted from its original track and become part of the problem due to adopting lowest standards.
A two-day annual conference titled “Media Landscape in Pakistan: Challenges & Opportunities here concluded on Thursday. The conference was organised by Rozan-Secretariat of Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism and was attended by large number of senior and junior journalists, news managers and activists from across the country.
The conference aimed to review the nature of ethical dilemmas present in news and current affairs programmes of the media and to reflect on PCEJ’s activities carried out in this regard during the last one year (2014-15)
In her welcome note, Shabana Arif, Director Programme Rozan said that the huddle of large number of journalists from across the country would provide an opportunity to share different ideas and issues they face, and would create new ways to expend and resolve the issues.
Different sessions on challenges and dynamics being faced by journalists such as evolution of Pakistani media, the good, the bad and the ugly, media in Pakistan, opinion shaper or a conformist: a view point, Gender equity in and through media: inclusion and representation of gender groups in media and significance of joint Code of Conduct in Pakistan were conducted in the conference moderated and conducted by renowned and expert journalists.
Veteran journalist Muhammad Ziauddin said that the present condition of journalism in Pakistan was the same as decades ago in which absence of ethics always felt. “However, professionalism and ethics can be realised in English journalism to some extent,” he said. Senior journalist Ghazi Salluhddin said that media in Pakistan became part of the problem rather and was adopting lowest standards. “Intelligentsia in other part of the world always supports quality press but unfortunately we don’t have the sector in Pakistan,” he expressed his concern, adding that media incited emotion and sensationalism in the country.
Mazhar Abbas while discussing the current scenario of Pakistani media said most of the programmes on electronic media became judgmental creating wrong opinions. “Today rating of the current affair programmes is gauged on higher number of viewers not on content. TV programmes are creating confusions in peoples’ minds leading towards negativity,” he said.
Speakers said media got detracted from its original track and failed to show the real face of public. “There is an absence of discourses on real issues while non-issues have dominated them. Every journalist tries to write or speak truth rather than fact while unfair competitions are on rise with absence of ethics,” said Jami Chandio.
The participants also censured the advertisement-driven policies by owners of the media agencies and expressed concern as have become sandwiched between state agencies and militants.
Panelists also discussed that female journalists were more likely to be assigned ‘soft’ beats while the ‘hard’ news, politics and economy were less likely covered by women.
“You always feel positive change when you have women in your work spaces. Women can carry hard beats comparatively better than men if they were given opportunities,” said Afia Salam.
A presentation on a research study based on comparative analysis on difference between reporting ethics of mainstreaming Urdu and Sindhi media was also launched in the conference.
Participants stressed on collective efforts to take media towards professionalism and put it on ethical guidelines in the country.
Drawing on the discussions during the conference, participants in the ending session gave their inputs and recommendations to devise a code of conduct to help the coalition move forward to fulfill the objective of an ethical and professional media.