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THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ETHICS DAY CELEBRATED IN PAKISTAN
The first International Media Ethics Day observed in Pakistan by the Karachi Press Club in collaboration with the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) and Mishal Pakistan. The Day has been created by CIME to engage the media community throughout the world to have an open dialogue on media ethics.
The aim of the Media Ethics Day is to mobilize the journalism community and provide journalists around the world with an opportunity to discuss media ethics issues, examine case studies, and participate in role-plays and debates related to the various ethical dilemmas they might expect to face on the job.
Aamir Latif, President Karachi Union of Journalist stressed on the need to highlight the ethical challenges faced by the Pakistani Journalists and sees this day as an opportunity for the journalists to work together to make their own judgments and identify their own strategies.
CIME aims to prepare and infuse journalists with the energy and support they need to make their own ethical decisions in reporting and negotiating with anyone or anything that might be trying to obstruct their own sound decision-making. The International Media Ethics Day events are especially important because local organisations volunteer to do it for local people and CIME provides support and expertise to help them said Suzanne Harris, Associate for the Center for International Media Ethics.
Puruesh Chaudhary, CIME Ambassador to Pakistan and the Director Content for Mishal Pakistan underscored the need for a joint code of conduct to agree upon basic guidelines for reporters and cameramen and encouraged the journalist community to take on a proactive role in defining ethical practices through the choices and decisions made at work on a daily basis.
The Center for International Media Ethics and Mishal Pakistan believe that it is essential for the local journalists to collaborate with one another on a national level, to express their opinions and become actively involved in enforcing ethical media practices. Mishal Pakistan, a strategic communication policy design social enterprise in collaboration with the Center for International Media Ethics is observing the International Media Ethics Day at the Karachi Press Club as part of the Agahi Initiative. Agahi, aims to utilize institutionalized, sustainable media structures in Pakistan to raise the bar of journalistic standards through training to increasing responsible, balanced reporting and investigative journalism.
Senior journalist Amir Zia said that a reporter while reporting on a terrorist attack should keep in mind not to glamorize militancy. He said that the western media served as a yardstick, and during the 9/11 attack, the bodies of people were not shown on television, and the privacy of the victims was respected. However in Pakistan, reporters and photographers barged into emergency wards when doctors were struggling with their patients.
Mishal Pakistan Chief Executive Officer, Amir Jahangir on the occasion said that, media in Pakistan is passing through a transition, it is accumulating a lot of information, making Pakistan an information society, however the synthesis of information into knowledge has still to be evolved. Initiatives like this would lead to better understanding of communication challenges, especially in terms of Dignity, Journalism and Leadership.
The objective of the Center for International Media Ethics’ International Media Ethics Day is to mobilize the journalism community and provide media professionals with the opportunity to partake in local workshops. By participating in discussions conducted in their own language, local journalists can feel more comfortable and more enabled to talk about such a complex subject as the ethics of their profession. The center’s driving emphasis is that journalists together have the power to formulate and enforce a tacit code of ethics as a status quo of their profession.
The event was attended by leading journalists from print and electronic media along with representatives of media entities and civil society organizations.