Under threat: ‘Framework needed for ethical media’

Seminar participants demand protection for media persons


Our Correspondent October 03, 2014

LAHORE: There is a pressing need to evolve a framework for ethical media, a prerequisite for journalists’ safety, because Pakistan is ranked among the most dangerous countries for journalists, speakers at a seminar titled: Media Ethics in Time of Threat said on Thursday.

The seminar was organised by the Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism (PCEJ), in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), at Aiwan-i-Jamhoor of the HRCP.

A large number of journalists, academia, students and representatives of civil society participated in the event. The seminar also featured the launch of Adnan Rehmat’s book, Reporting Under Threat, a compilation of stories of journalists who faced threats.

HRCP Director Hussain Naqi, PCEJ Technical Advisory Committee member Ghazi Salahuddin, Adnan Rehmat, Rana Azeem, Shumaila Jafary and Yusuf Ali spoke on the occasion.

They expressed concern over the rising threats to journalists, stating that 100 journalists had died in the line of duty during the last decade. “Both state and non-state actors are behind these threats. The findings of judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists have not been made public. Only those behind the death of a foreign journalist were punished,” they said.

The speakers advised journalists to avoid taking risks that may cost them their lives.

They were of the view that the flow of information was very complicated in Pakistan. “Frequently limited or personalised information is passed on to journalists. Such information is often agenda-driven and can lead them into trouble,” the speakers said.

They stressed the need for a code of conduct for media practitioners in the country. “This code should be followed in letter and spirit to enhance the credibility of the media. It will also safeguard the rights of journalists and ensure their safety,” the speakers said.

Consumers, they said, should play an active role in bringing the media into the ethical network. “It should be ensured that the content provided to the public through print or electronic media is based on investigative journalism,” the speakers said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2014.

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