ISLAMABAD: There is a greater need for cross-media collaboration in Pakistan to promote peace through responsible reporting. This was the crux of a two-day consultative workshop on peace building that concluded here on Tuesday.
Around 27 television anchorpersons and talk-show hosts hailing from 25 districts across the country participated in the workshop. Titled “Media for Peace”, the workshop was jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Search for Common Ground (SFCG) Pakistan and supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
On the second day, senior broadcast and print journalists held a panel discussion on Pakistani media’s coverage of violence and conflict. The discussion was moderated by Dr Moeed Pirzada of PTV News and featured Jawaid Siddiq of Nawa-e-Waqt daily newspaper, Najib Ahmed of Power FM99 radio channel and Afzal Bajwa of Online news agency.
They panellists discussed avenues for cross media collaboration to promote peace through responsible reporting practices and stressed the need to create greater synergies among media institutions. They said people’s perceptions differ on print and electronic media, adding that social media is now seen as the “most sought after medium for source of information”.
Danish Ambassador Ole E Mosby said that conflicts are not only limited to violence and terrorism. “It is also a conflict when a person is not enjoying basic human rights of security, prosperity, quality education, accessible healthcare, clean water and a clean environment.” The ambassador said that Denmark believes that all stakeholders need to connect and develop a consensus on seeking solutions to Pakistan’s challenges to achieving sustainable peace.
“Pakistan’s solutions cannot be given by others but the Pakistani people themselves. This is where the media in particular has a role to play by educating the masses and creating awareness,” said Mosby. “Denmark has seen the benefits of peace as today it is ranked among the most competitive nations of the world in terms of economy and social welfare. We want to see it happen in Pakistan as well,” he added.
Earlier, Ammara Durrani, the country director of SFCG Pakistan said that media in Pakistan has already begun a constructive debate on its role as guardian of public interest. Pakistani media is very aware of public opinion about its functions and its willingness to discuss its own role to foster socially positive, responsive and constructive behaviours, she said.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that media plays a defining role in the process of peace building. “It shapes up public discourse, impacts nature of debate, strategy and raises or lowers the public standing on some particular issues,” he added.
At the conclusion of the workshop, Danish Ambassador Mosby distributed certificates amongst the participants.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.