Though Pakistan is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), a lot more work remains to be done at home in terms of legislation against torture, journalists were told at a media workshop on Sunday.
The two-day workshop, organised by Individualland, an Islamabad based consultancy, in collaboration with the Foundation for Open Society Institute, was the first in a series of 11 to be staged all over the country.
“The media should be cautious while reporting on the issue of torture as there is a tendency to inadvertently use derogatory language against torture victims as most torture cases are reported directly from police files,” said Wajahat Masood, a prominent journalist and the moderator of the event.
The participants in the workshop noted that there was less awareness in rural areas about the issue of torture in custody. They stressed the need to train the police and lower judiciary.
“We need to keep in mind the difference between torture, which almost always involves the state’s complicity, and violence, which can be unintentional and without an objective,” said Masood.
The workshop aims to help the media shed light on the prevalence of torture and help eradicate the practice from state structures. The training also focussed on the criminal justice system.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.
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