Islamabad : Stakeholders at a roundtable discussion Tuesday said that state actors along with non-state actors were major threat to journalists who were engaged in covering incidents related to conflict.
They assembled at roundtable discussion on reporting conflict arranged by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) here at a local hotel. Senior journalists, Masud Alam was the moderator, prominent anchor Hamid Mir also spoke occasion while journalists belonging to different parts of the country attended it.
Speaking on the occasion, Hamid Mir terming it as an important issue of conflict reporting said that there was need to teach it at the university level. He said state actors were the major elements who pose threat to the lives of journalists, adding, non-state actors stand on the second position. He said journalists working in the areas like Khyber Agency and Quetta were facing life threats.
Linking the issue of journalists security with the security of Pakistan, he said journalists are the mirrors of the society. He called the need to take measures to ensure journalists security. He said number of Pakistani journalists were killed but not a single killer was apprehended, adding only the killer of Daniel Pearl was arrested who was a U.S journalist.
Highlighting the importance of print media, he said after invasion of electronic channels in Pakistan, it seems the electronic media has become trend settler. He said in the rest world, print media leads the policy. To address the issues confronted to journalists in conflict reporting, he said 99% producers are unaware of production and called the need to train news producers and program producers.
Zahoor Baloch, a lawyer who hails from Balochistan said today journalists are working in difficult conditions. He informed that over 18 journalists were killed in Balochistan. He regretted that no compensation was paid to the victim families of these journalists. He was of the view that journalists should scrutinize and verify news before sending for publishing.
Another lawyer, Talat Abbas said conspiracy was being hatched to weaken the institutions. He lamented that declarations were being issued to those who had no connection with the journalism.
Shahida Shah, who works for an NGO said that her organization was working to resolve women problems. She said 70% women who are educated want change while 30% are fanatic. She observed that media could bring a positive change in the society.
Hafiz Tariq, Director News Waqt TV said that conflict report is divided in three parts, pre-conflict, conflict period and post conflict. He said journalists should report incidents accurately, neutrally and with authentically. He said that there was always issue of interests behind every conflict.
Rafiq Bhutto, a journalist urged to follow media ethics to resolve the issue of conflict reporting. He proposed to constitute a body consisting of senior journalists for implementation on media ethics.
Wali Khan Shinwar said that tribal journalists were in the mouth of death. He said journalists were facing threat from both state and non-state actors. He said ten have lost their lives while other dozens have relocated. He further said journalists were also facing issue of salaries as only 20 among 300 were being paid in the tribal areas.
Zaigham Khan, a media practitioner presented a detailed study of conflict and issues, which were highlighted on the print and electronic media. He said during the last 20-30 years number of groups emerged who believe to get power through guns.
Earlier, coordinator PPF, Lala Hasan briefed the participants about the objectives of conducting training workshops. He informed it was the fourth round table being arranged on reporting conflict. He said journalists were facing lot of problems including lack of facilities, low salaries, life threats etc. He elaborated the issues confronted to journalists.