KARACHI: The participants of a three-day national media conference organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) from 3 to 5 February 2014 at a local hotel unanimously passed “conference declaration” in its concluding session on Wednesday.
The declaration was prepared by a three-member committee comprising Zafarullah Khan: a noted intellectual: Qazi Asif: a noted working journalist and Syed Dr Azfar Ali: academician: under the guideline of distinguished analyst and columnist IA Rehman and Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh: Vice Chancellor SMIU.
The declaration was read out by Zafarullah Khan in the session: which was chaired by IA Rehman. It states: “ We the participants appreciate SMIU for organizing three-day national conference on media that brought young scholars: researchers: students: academia: media professionals and politicians at one platform to discuss: debate and deliberate the media-scope of the country with focus on changing and ever-evolving print: electronic: digital and regional media. This creative combination enabled the participants to have a holistic view of the expanding discipline.”
It further said: “Recognizing the efficacy of this academic approach to understand media: we recommend that the tradition of such conference be made an annual feature of SMIU. Media has become integral part of our lives. It influences: shapes and impacts us: therefore studying and scrutinizing media is of vital significance and such conferences are important and useful.”
Borrowing from the messages from different sessions ,we call for democratic role of media for national integration and respect for Pakistani diversity with all its regional colours: it said.
Appreciating the show-casing of research by faculty: the conference emphasizes the need to expand and encourage culture of research: imparting of practical training: active and interactive linkage with media industry along with teaching about theoretical aspects.
In this regard the role of campus radios and campus television to promote civic values and democratic citizenship that internalizes and respects diversity is important.
The conference calls that the curriculum of media and communication studies must be revised and updated to make it compatible with norms of changing society and rapid technological advancements.
The commercial interests of media must not undermine its public interest obligations. Similarly media must play its ‘public service role’ in the context of socio-economic: cultural: educational and health needs of the citizens.
The digital technologies and expanding media must be linked to effective service delivery and democratic accountability.
It was recommended in the conference that the recommendations of the Media Commission must be implemented.
Media must respect the privacy of citizens and shall not assume the role of administration by intruding into private houses and assume the role of judiciary by pronouncing value judgments.
In a democratic: federal parliamentary Pakistan aberrations like militant organizations and their militancy must not be given undue coverage.
Media houses must organize in house trainings for its staff. The use of language: use of music in stories about bomb blast must be avoided.
The issue of cross-media needs to be revisited or at least be made public about the media interests.
Along with its equipment: the media houses must value the life and liberties of its staff. Journalism has become a dangerous profession in Pakistan therefore the insurance of media professionals is necessary.
Regional media must be given its due share in advertisement pie and opportunities to grow professionally.
Media must come forward with its effective code of conduct. We appreciate and extend our thanks to the SMIU and the conference organizing committee led by Dr M Ali Shaikh for their dedicated efforts to materialize this conference.