Untitled Document
Untitled Document
Media Training Workshop on Human Rights Reporting
Journalists need to learn and practice conflict-sensitive or peace journalism



Published: February 20, 2015


   

  Apart from properly understanding cultural sensitivities and local context of conflicts, Pakistani journalists need to learn fundamental concepts and practices linked to conflict-sensitive or peace journalism with a view to develop balanced, progressive, in-depth and accurate coverage of conflicts. Also, they need to learn how to prevent personal biases and socio-political pressures from affecting their reporting and analysis of conflicts. These views were expressed by speakers of a media training workshop “Reporting Conflict -2” held on February 11, 2015 in Islamabad. The workshop was organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada in Islamabad.

 

The workshop was second of a series of workshops meant to enhance the capacity of Pakistani media and journalists in reporting conflicts. More than 40 journalists and district reporters from across Pakistan participated. Prominent journalists and media practitioners including Iqbal Khattak, Faheem Siddiqui, Asad Hashim, and Shehryar Khan educated and trained the journalists on different aspects of conflict-sensitive reporting.


Iqbal Khattak said Pakistan faces conflicts of multiple types and the safety of journalists reporting these conflicts is under constant threat, mainly in conflict-hit areas. He underscored the need for journalists to be extra careful because the life of a journalist is much more important than a news story. He explained at length the concept of cultural sensitivity and said journalists should be careful in the selection of words and symbols in reporting conflicts. He lamented the fact that since the start of war against terrorism after incidents of 9/11 Pakistani media and journalists have failed to develop a responsible narrative of reporting and analysis in the framework of peace journalism.

Faheem Siddiqui highlighted the implications of reporting from the conflict zones in Pakistan. He stressed that the safety of the journalists working in electronic media is more vulnerable than those working in print media. He stated that reporting conflicts from Karachi is a difficult task to ask where both print and electronic media are under pressure from political parties, criminals, and ethnic and sectarian groups. The so-called competition in ‘breaking the news’ leaves little time for journalists to investigate and counter-check the facts thus raising the threat level for them. He was of the view that journalists should not to go to the conflict areas without taking adequate precautionary measures and should do balanced reporting without taking sides.



Asad Hashim from Al-Jazeera noted that conflict reporting in Pakistan is excessively biased and not balanced. Reporters should be aware of the editorial policy of their respective institutions. He emphasized on the journalists’ unions and press clubs to act like pressure groups in order to ensure the safety of the journalists.

 

 

Muhammad Amir Rana, director PIPS, outlined that journalists can only be successful if they choose the right words in their reporting. According to him, state and non-state actors are posing threats to the lives of journalists in conflict-hit areas.

President National Press Club Shehryar Khan demanded of the government to appoint special prosecutors to pursue cases of the journalists killed during reporting conflicts and also announce compensation for the deceased journalists. He said there is an urgent need for the insurance of the journalists in the conflict-hit areas.


 

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