Lahore : “Your own morality is the most important code of conduct for you.” This was stated by Senior Journalist and anchor, Talat Husain, who was part of the inaugural session of the fifth (5th) national media conference organized by Individualland Pakistan in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Islamabad. While underlining the plight of local journalists working in far flung areas of the country, he added that “we have a lot to learn from our colleagues working in Interior Sindh, Baluchistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan. Unfortunately, they have been forgotten and our attention remains on the mainstream media. In Pakistan, more than 90% of the working journalists are devoid of basic facilities.” He further added that “the role of desk has virtually finished and there is no proof reading, which is one of the reasons for poor quality of journalism in our country.”
During the first session of the conference, the focus remained on the safety standards being followed by the various media organizations in the country. Suleman Raja, Editor, Balochistan Times highlighted that “more than forty two (42) journalists have been killed in Pakistan in the last couple of years. However, only a few have been provided with compensation.” Iqbal Khattak, National Coordinator on Journalists Safety posed a question to the participants that “have we ever asked our parent organizations for safety standards or standard operating procedures (SOPs)?” he further added that “there has to be a demand of SOPs if we want its supply.” Sundas Syeda from Individualland Pakistan highlighted the importance of sustainable initiatives to ensure the safety of journalists.
The second session of the conference focused on the disconnect that exists within the media. Dr. Jabbar Khattak, Chairman Project and Program Committee and Chief Editor Daily Awami Awaz Group was of the view that “the media consumers must step forward to ensure that the disconnect within the media is reduced.” Mr. Fahad Hussain, Editor Express Tribune and Director News, Express News was of the view that “disconnect within in the media is mostly due to the corporate interests of the owners. However, the journalists must raise their voices for themselves, if they want their condition to be improved.” Raza Ali Abidi, Senior Journalist and Broadcaster, while commenting on the changing media landscape of the country was of the view that, “the concept of citizens’ reporting in the contemporary world has changed the overall media landscape not only in Pakistan but the whole world.”
On day two (02) of the National Media Conference discussions will be held on Media and Democracy and Development Journalism.