01 March, 2011

Seeking Free and Responsible Media

Published in Pakistan Observer (1 Mar. 2011)
Sana Jamal


ISLAMABAD: Media plays a vital role in the development of a society, however media must undergo its own self-improvement processes before it can contribute to constant evolution of society. This was the crux of the training workshop on ‘Free, Independent and Responsible Media (FIRM)’ in which the participants called for “free and responsible Pakistani media.”

The interactive discussion including print and electronic journalists was organized by Individual-land-Pakistan (IL), an NGO in collaboration with Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Islamabad on Tuesday. The workshop was based on a “Handbook on and for FIRM” developed by IL-Pakistan after consultations with various journalists across the country, from last year’s workshops and is intended to serve as guidebook for a FIRM media, told Shahukat Ali Ashraf, Co-ordinator of IL.

The participants at the training determined to act more responsibly and believed that “the smarter the journalists are, the better off society is.”

The key issues under discussion included responsibilities of journalists, ethical standards of journalism, steps to improve standards of journalism in Pakistan, regulation of media
and ways to create linkages of general public with media.

The participants at the workshop noted that though media helps us in understanding the world around us but at the same time, media faces issues including government influence, biases in media houses, market forces. “And this is precisely the idea behind FIRM which focuses on the internal as well as external issues journalists face in the line of duty” informed IL representative.

IL-Pakistan is an NGO actively engaged with the Pakistani media on training of print, radio and electronic media personnel on civic issues as well as using media as anally for change. Presently, Individual-land Pakistan is involved in a national initiative to create public awareness of freedom of information through the use of radio and online media tools for its advocacy and consulting work.