Hard work needed to bring big change: IFJ president

KARACHI: President International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Jim Boumelha on Saturday said there was no doubt that the current geo-political situation in Pakistan was very bad. Pakistani media needed a lot to do to bring positivity in their society.

“You cannot find a magic pill to solve a situation where big players are involved, however consistent professionalism through hard work can make a reasonable difference,” he said while talking to media during the second day of 1st International Media Conference 2015 organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists at a local hotel.

Pakistan has got the honor of hosting the conference which is being held for the first time in the history of Asia.

To a query, he said, smilingly, he did not know precisely what Pakistani media was doing because he did not know Urdu and he could not personally figure out the situation outside of the hotel he was staying because there were for sure security concerns for a person like him.

Talking on media governance reforms, President National Writers Union, USA, Laurence Goldbetter said media industry had become consolidated by few owners, where media workers get peanut share.

He suggested freelance journalists to make their own association to address the issues of low and unsteady income.

Senior journalist and anchorperson Mubashir Luqman said no journalist in the world would be facing the difficulties Pakistani journalists had to face. We had to face threats from non-state as well as state actors. Media houses would build pressure on electronic media journalists to go deeper into a conflict or sensitive situation to bring close footage for the sake of their ratings without providing the journalists any safety backup.

“There is no copyright protection in our country. The footage made by one person could be seen on many channels portraying as exclusive,” he said.

He said one of the biggest plights of journalism was that it was dominantly controlled by media owners who would not exercise the ethics of journalism for their corporate interests. Many issues die down behind ratings. Lack of training creates panic and anxiety in the society.

“The journalist of Pakistan is the most unfortunate professional who fights for everybody’s rights but nobody fights for his rights,” he said.

Luqman said the advertisement revenue of electronic media had increased from Rs 4 billion to Rs 45 billion; however, salaries of employees did not increase that way.

Executive director of a local news channel, Salman Ghani talking on the topic of role of media in terrorism said international powers had a big role in pushing Pakistan into ablaze of terrorism. Those powers did not support Pakistan in time of crisis, but they supported India. Injustice, discrimination and prejudice give rise to terrorism. And terrorism aroused when issues were tried to suppress through power.

“US constitution obliges journalists to be in limits when security of the country is at stake, therefore the injustices in Afghanistan could not be highlighted,” he said.

His thoughts were endorsed by many journalists on the occasion. News anchor Maria Memon said when she asked a CNN anchorperson what was the most regretful moment for him in his career, he replied that when they knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and they could not report it.

“The goals of country’s interests have been ruined in pursuit of ratings. We should not become part of any political agenda, but bring real issues in front for resolution,” Ghani said.

He said media needed to expose real mindset behind war on terrorism, while, peace, development and education should be our agenda.

Senior journalist Sami Ebrahim said media could be a pillar for establishment but was not a fourth pillar of state in Pakistan.

“To bring media as a fourth pillar of state, news should be for the interest of the country not media owners’,” he said.

Secretary General IFJ Anthony Bellanger from France, Chairman Kenya Correspondents Association William Oloo, journalist and film maker Sameera Aziz from Saudi Arabia, Executive Member IFJ Sabina Inderjit from India, President Union of Journalists, KSA, Chaudhry Rizwan, Editor Voice of America S Qamar Abbas Jafri and many other national and international media persons were present.

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