Ethics oversight bodies suggested for media


Karachi: Editors and senior journalists at a roundtable discussion demanded restructuring of Press Council of Pakistan and renaming it as “Media Council” by extending its scope to the electronic media to monitor the content in terms of ethics.

The roundtable discussion was held on “Ethical Journalism and the Print Media”, organized on Saturday evening by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and Pakistan Coalition on Ethical Journalism (PCEJ) at a local hotel.

The speakers also suggested appointment of an Ombudsman or formation of Ethics Oversight Committee within media organization for monitoring of content and address the issue of ethical journalism.

Participants, including media practitioners and people from academia side, noted that clearly stated guidelines, documented policies and style guides are important to ensure ethical journalism in the print media.

Stressing the need of training reporters, the participants said that owners, editors and news editors should also be trained and sensitized for ethical journalism as they are decision-makers within the organizations. They suggested formation of a group of master trainers for conducting refresher training courses within the organization for capacity building of staff.

Participants agreed on the fact that ethical journalism in Pakistan is being compromised due to financial constraints and advertisements, adding collective efforts are needed to address the issue. They also urged on engagement between industry and academia so that trained people can come in the field of journalism.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali said that promotion of ethics in Pakistani media is the need of the hour and for this purpose Pakistan Coalition on Ethical Journalism was formed.

He said that problem of ethics exist across the world and every unethical thing being done is not just because of commercial interests; therefore, creating awareness and sensitizing media owners, editors and journalists is necessary.

Ali said that maximum projects of media trainings have been carried out in Pakistan for the last ten years, but lack of media involvement and willingness is witnessed despite the fact that civil society organizations are willing to extend their support and assistance to them.

Those who attended the roundtable included Mehmood Sham, Zubeida Mustafa, Mazhar Abbas and Afia Salam, freelance journalist, Bilal Farooqui from Daily Aghaz, Adeel Pathan from Rozan, Shahid Hussain from Daily The News, Idress Bakhtiar from Geo Group, Syed Kamran Mumtaz from Daily Mashriq Quetta, Saleem Shahid from Dawn Quetta, Nabeela Aslam from Internews, Muhammad Ziauddin, Kamal Siddiqui from Express Tribune, Shujauddin Qureshi from PILER, Dr. Tauseef Ahmed from Mass Communication Department of Federal Urdu University, Nisar Ahmad Zuberi from Mass Communication Department of Karachi University, Durre Shahwar Channa and Sheerin Soomro from Pakistan Press Foundation.

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