Civil society organisations on Monday called for establishing the “Alliance for Gender-Just Media” to promote gender responsive media practices in the country.
This was decided at a meeting held at a local hotel on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to bring concerned parties onto one platform and unanimously decide on the creation of the alliance, that aims to support collaboration and coordination between the media and civil societies.
Participants expressed their concerns over how the media is portraying women in the news and in current affairs and entertainment programmes. They stated that physical abuse in the form of hitting and slapping women has become common in many serials as well as hard news coverage, using the slapping of a presiding officer by MPA Waheeda Shah as an example. By looping the incident, the incident became a joke rather than journalism.
Participants also said that women in electronic media should not be confined to modelling cheap products like detergents, soaps and washroom cleaners. NCSW Chairperson Anis Haroon said, “Our focus is not to point fingers at anyone in particular since it is not only women but our children and society that is impacted.”
The meeting discussed the terms of reference and rationale of the alliance and its scope including the convenorship, taskforce and a system for volunteers. Human rights activist Tahira Abdullah said that in the race for ratings the media has left reality and facts far behind.
The consensus reached was that Uks will be responsible for chairing the alliance, while the secretariat position will be given on a six-month rotation basis to help expand its chapters at a regional level.
The meeting was organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with the Uks Research Centre Officials from the Ministry of Information were also present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.