The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Executive Member Kamaluddin Tipu said the posts of journalists and television news anchors are “never advertised”, which was alarming.
Speaking at a seminar on freedom of expression at a local hotel on Tuesday in connection with the World Press Freedom Day, Tipu stated that the body [Pemra] regulated electronic media and its content, and had outlined a code of conduct. Tipu added that they had no say over how people were hired and paid.
“The posts of journalists and anchors are never advertised, which is alarming because that means that well-qualified and capable candidates never get a chance to even get considered for these posts,” he said.
The seminar was arranged by Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (Poda), a women’s rights NGO.
Speakers highlighted various challenges faced by journalists throughout the country.
Journalist Shehzad Raza spoke about the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2015. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Afzal Butt said that there was a dire need for a bill to protect journalists in Pakistan.
“While we cry for freedom of expression, we must also provide security and protection to journalists, who give a voice to the voiceless,” he said.
Senior journalist M Ziauddin underlined individual integrity and credibility as the most important aspects for truly preserving the sanctity of freedom of expression.
“People need to believe that the journalist is unbiased and the paper has no personal agenda in order to believe in the news they read,” he said.
If the credibility and integrity of the paper, organisation and its journalists is questionable, people will not be able to trust the news they read, Ziauddin added.
Myra Imran, a print journalist, highlighted a very unique and interesting aspect that women journalists face everyday in the country. “Freedom of expression is a different story but women journalists in our country do not even get the respect they deserve. Even in this century, the field is so male-centric that women hardly even get separate bathrooms in media offices across the country,” she said.
During the seminar, it was stressed that a single individual must not own a television house, a newspaper and a radio station because that concentrates too much power in a single hand.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2015.
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