The media’s role in highlighting women’s issues was highly lauded at the launch of the annual report of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) on Wednesday
The media’s timely and sensible reporting saved many precious lives of women in the last few years, said Nasreen Azhar, member executive committee of the NCSW.
The launch of the report of the NCSW 2010-2012 was held at a local hotel in Islamabad on Wednesday and was attended by women rights activists, civil society representatives and officials of donor agencies, among others,.
Azhar said the media has played an extremely responsible role in sensitising the public about women’s rights and violence being inflicted upon women. “This has given courage to many women to speak their heart out and make their unheard voices heard,” she said.
“In fact the topics chosen for talk shows and public service messages relayed by media has contributed in creating an enabling environment for women to take equal part in public and private life to a great deal,” she added.
While sharing the two year journey of NCSW she said that the last three years have been extremely challenging for the commission as it resumed the office at a time when images of a woman being flogged in Swat were being shown on TV channels all over the world. “These images horrified the world in general and the women of Pakistan, in particular.”
Azhar also appreciated the Women Parliamentarian Caucus (WPC) for their continuous support in the National Assembly and the Senate, which recently approved landmark legislation including Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010, Acid Crime Prevention Act 2011, Anti-Women Practices Act, 2011 and Fund for Women in distress and detention Act 2011.
Meanwhile, while speaking at the occasion NCSW chairperson Anis Haroon said it was a great achievement for women’s movement and rights activists that an independent and autonomous commission exists in the country today. However, she added, financial constraints remain to be the main hurdle.
Participants at the launch called upon the government to formally set up the National Commission of Women (NCW) without any further delay. The National Commission for Women Bill was made part of the constitution on March 8, after President Asif Ali Zardari signed the legislation.
Justice Kailash Nath Kohli demanded that the new commission should be made part of the constitution so that no other government can change its status.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2012.