To cement the media’s role in disaster risk reduction, a meeting of journalists was held on Saturday. Organised by ActionAid, the meeting urged media persons to increase their coverage of disaster-hit areas and spread awareness on the needs of flood-affected people.
ActionAid’s Policy Manager Uzma Tahir said the organisation strives to bring sustainable development in flood-hit areas, but “this cannot be done without collaborative efforts from the government, NGOs and the media”.
Though media persons appreciated the organisation’s work, they also suggested novel insights into disaster risk reduction and changing negative public perceptions about NGOs.
Journalist Mushtaq Minhas said people generally have a negative perception of international organisations as they are ‘foreign-funded’. Hence they foster a sense of detachment and scepticism. However, “If NGOs reveal their sources of income, the Pakistani people will realise that the funds come from the pockets of ordinary people abroad. This in turn will correct people’s perceptions”.
Sharing his experience covering recent floods, Javed Qureshi said he had witnessed highly unequal distribution of relief goods in flood-hit areas.
This, he believed, was due to a lack of communication between organisations and response teams which lead to a focus on just some areas.
Apart from that, the fears of deprivation among victims lead to hoarding of relief goods by some families.
“If they had more faith in the response system, they wouldn’t indulge in such activities. This lack of faith was due to a lack of communication, and this is where the media can play a role,” he opined.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2012.
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