Following journalistic ethics to improve Pak media standing

KARACHI: Following journalistic ethics in letter and spirit would increase the credibility of Pakistani media and better its standing at local and global level, said speakers of a seminar here Tuesday.

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan organized the seminar at a local hotel to audit news in media through feedback of civil society members.

Media development activist Asad Baig said that most of the times media follows the ethics; however, on certain issues where more accuracy or relevancy and focus is required, it needs giving more attention in this regard. “Unfortunately, existing codes of conduct for journalism are not being followed in letter and spirit in the mass media,” he commented.

Two survey reports were presented in the seminar: one on electronic media and the other on print media. The surveys were conducted on the basis of news content of different media houses based in different cities of Pakistan. The surveys were based on the news published in five newspapers and three TV channels of different calibres.

Baig, who was moderating the event, said the reason behind the seminar was to get a critical feedback of civil society for the standard analysis report that would be published later, so that a baseline could be made for the guideline of editorial staff. “It needs serious consideration that sometimes many important news go underreported or killed due to one reason or other,” he said.

Columnist Muqtada Mansoor, Coordinator Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Syed Shamsuddin, social activist Dr Wahabuddin, research contributor to USAID Anis Danish, member of Pakistan Bar Council Zia Ahmed Awan, Program Manager Bytes for All Sadaf, law student Arsalan Zia, Younas Bandhani of Baahn Beli, media specialist Prof Dr Seemi Naghmana, teacher of journalism Imran Sherwani, Secretary General PPF Owais Aslam Ali and General Manger PPF Sheraz Ahmed were also present.

Baig said that Urdu newspapers in comparison with English medium generally lax in following the ethical rules properly. However, English newspapers were obtrusively opinionated.

Seemi Naghmana pointed out that editor’s role is being limited in media houses to some extent, because, ‘rating’ plays more imported role in news content rather than news importance. Therefore, fairness of news could not be gauged easily without applying scientific methods.

She also said research students should work on new emerging issues for bringing invention in new fields. To which Sadaf added that sometimes universities also discourage students from some unique/ distinguished research because of lack of resources or ideological clash.

Zia Awan said news should have been researched properly through relevant information and contacting relevant experts.

“Gender issues in KPK and Balochistan go underreported due to law and order situation,” he said.

Owais Aslam Ali said the surveys were conducted under experts’ supervision; however, they still were not perfect and with the induction of opinions of the civil society members they would be made better finally as they were not yet made public.

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