Lahore : An International Conference on “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and media Development: A Pakistani Perspective on UNESCO Report” was held in Institute of communication studies, University of the Punjab.
Conferences was organized in collaboration with UNESCO and Higher Education Commission in which Norwegian Ambassador Tore Nedrebo, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Johnson, Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Zakarya Zakir, Director ICS Dr. Noshina Saleem, Communications Consultant of UNESCO Camila Ferro, Professor Oslo Metropolitan University Dr. Elizabeth Eide, Senior Journalists Mazhar Abbas, Wajahat Saeed Khan, Conference convener Dr. Bushra Hamid ur Rahman, Dr. Abida Eijaz, Communication experts from North America, Norway, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal and Bangladesh along with more than 100 senior journalists and professors from all over the country participated.
Vice Chancellor said in his address that for ensuring the freedom of expression we will have to ensure action against violent groups. Norwegian Ambassador said in his speech that that Pakistani media is considered to be one of the most free and popular media in Asia. He said that strict action against people involved in violent incidents against journalists should be ensured.
Sweden’s ambassador said that the law of access to information is very good and we are in favor of this law. He said that violence and harassment of women through social media must be stopped.
UNESCO Communications Consultant said that the freedom of media is essential and we state TV must be provided with financial and administrative protection so that they do not become just a government’s mouthpiece. She told the session that with the help of UNESCO, 112 countries around the world have passed laws in favor of freedom of expression.
Professor Oslo Metropolitan University Dr. Elizabeth Eide said that journalists perform their duties despite kidnapping and killings of their colleagues. But a journalist facing threats cannot tell the whole truth.
Mazhar Abbas said that the strength of the fourth pillar of the state is essential for the stability of the state itself. He said that if the journalist is harmed then the concerned media organization must ensure that journalist’s story never gets killed.
Wajahat Saeed Khan said that journalism ethics are intended to convey the whole truth, but our conditions do not allow it. He said that the business needs of the media are also hurdle in the way of information’s dissemination.
Prof. Dr. Abdul Siraj said that norm of distributing plots among journalists and taking them to foreign tours must end to ensure dissemination of actual news.
In the international conference, there were six parallel sessions for discussion on media freedom, media pluralism, media independence and safety of journalists.
There were also separate sessions for presentation of research papers on these topics.
Recommendations on Safety of journalists and ensuring freedom of expression were collected during the conference which will be presented in the form of booklet later.
Senior journalists and professors expressed their views during the conference.
There will be another International Conference in ICS on 28th February to 1st March on “Working with and Against the Structures: Women, Media and Transnational Perspective”.