The senior print and electronic media professional reiterated on Friday that the biggest threat to the press freedom is the media itself as the decision makers of the industry have failed to challenge censorship and consistently show reluctance in taking a stand against the manufactured financial crunch.
The comments were issued at the round-table meeting on the topic of “The role of media in spreading peace and harmony in society,” hosted by Media Baithak. The organization is a credible bridge between media and civil society in Pakistan.
The key stakeholders of Pakistani media industry participated in the round table which was organized to discuss the ins and outs of the peacebuilding process in the society via media and present a policy draft in light of the recommendation shared by the media stakeholders in the form of working paper before legislators.
The speakers agreed that there should be a well structured, ethical and professional training for young journalists by the organizations and a legally bounded regulation must be put into place all across the board in media. The distinguished guest stressed that the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) should play its mandated role to provide professional security to journalists.
The forum agreed that the media can’t play a constructive role in promoting peace in society as it is not in peace with itself.
Ex Sindh Secretary Information and Culture Mehtab Akbar Rashidi stated that the prerequisites for the peacebuilding process are maturity and integrity, and both come through good moral, professional training, substantial professional experience and knowledge of content – and post 2000 news and entertainment media is completely lacking them.
She said that the biggest threat for news media is news media itself as it is now being run by the unprofessional individuals with vested interests. “Strict accountability of media houses owners is the need of the hour,” she concluded.
“The fear of the unknown is the major challenge which is being faced by media persons, how one can bring peace to the surrounding if he himself is not in peace. Job security, life threats, political influence, corporate priorities, state instable policies and interference of high-powers are the major factors which keep lingering on a journalist’s nerve. In all this chaos the role of PEMRA has become ineffective, which could be a key regulator of peace and quality for news media,” said ARY News Controller Amer Ishaq Shuherwardi.
Luna Jerar Naqvi, the head of social media content for Geo News, expressed her opinion that the ‘parachute journalists’ are the termite for news media, adding that only well-trained journalists from well established and reputed print media can disseminate a peaceful narration.
“Untrained news desk directors must be replaced by vigilant editors of print media,” she said.
The media persons who actively contributed being in attendence at the round-table meeting included: -Imtiaz Faran, President Karachi Press Club; Amer Ishaq Shuherwardi, News Controller ARY News TV; Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, Ex-Sec. Information and Culture Govt of Sind; Masood Raza, Investigative Journalist Duniya TV ; Ayub Khoso, Veteran Actor ; Shahab Mehmood, News Director Abbtak news; Qurat ul ain Iqrar, Editor-in-chief Live Magazine; Wajih Sani, Anchorperson Geo News; Masoom Rizvi, Controller News Bol TV; Yasir Akhtar, Director, Producer and Singer; Razzaq Sarohi, Director News & Current Affairs Awaz TV; Lubna Jarar Naqvi, Head of Content Social Media-Geo News ; Afia Salam, Freelance Journalist and Shabina Faraz, Environmental Journalist.