Media needs to support media: Code of conduct important for journalists’ safety: PCOMS

Karachi: The attack on Hamid Mir should have united the media in Pakistan but sadly it has confused, divided and polarized the media in Pakistan. This divide of media would only benefit that are against the freedom of expression in this country, said senior journalists who participated in the meeting of the Steering Committee of Pakistan Coalition of Media Safety (PCOMS) at local hotel Friday evening.

Speakers said the internal divisions and rifts amongst media community are more dangerous than external threats and stressed is a need of ending the current disunity and divide within the media community. They appealed to all stakeholders including journalists, media houses, journalists’ unions, and government to come forward to tackle the issues related to the safety of journalists.

A threat to any journalist is a threat to whole media and the attack on Hamid Mir is an attack on freedom of expression. The current situation demands that petty differences should be shunned in the larger interest of journalist fraternity.

They said issue of safety of journalists has taken a paramount importance in prevailing situation and there is a need to devise a mechanism for a media code of conduct to promote ethical journalism in the country. In this regards newsrooms can play a crucial role through proper checks and balances for a stronger editorial content and to minimize threats to journalists.

The constitution of Pakistan guarantees fundamental liberties including media freedom and no one should be allowed to usurp these rights; however, it also needs that media should devise its own code of conduct and rules of business should be agreed upon to ensure safe a working environment for media in Pakistan.

The meeting stressed need to appoint special prosecutors at federal and provincial level to investigate violence against media organizations and professionals. The attack on Hamid Mir has further highlighted the urgent need for urgent appointment of such special prosecutors.

The murderous attack on Hamid Mir on April 19, 2014 is a big setback for the freedom of expression in the country. Pakistan needs a culture of ethical and responsible journalism. It should also respect the rights of readers, listener and viewers as media consumers. It needs to promote the concept of ‘content audit’ to promote a healthy and responsible journalism.

Speakers said Pakistani journalists don’t just need protection from attacks and intimidation but they also need better wages, safer work environment and job security. Without resolving the economic issues of working journalists the dream of media security would remain to be a dream.

Participants included Phyza Jameel of Unesco, Asad Baig of Open Society Foundation, Iqbal Khattak of PCOMS, Zohra Yousuf of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Owais Aslam Ali of Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Tanwir A Tahir of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (ANPS), Dr Jabbar Khattak of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE), Shaikh Wasim Ahmed of Radio Broadcasters Association, Afzal Butt of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Ammer Ajaz of Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Imtiaz Faran of Karachi Press Club, senior journalists Mazhar Abbass, Aafia Salam and others.

The post Media needs to support media: Code of conduct important for journalists’ safety: PCOMS appeared first on Pakistan Press International.

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