LAHORE - Speakers at Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan a seminar ‘Media and Parliamentary Reporting Imperatives’ Thursday said debates on public issues in the assemblies will lead to a balanced parliamentary reporting and the media houses should depute senior journalists for the purpose to save it from deterioration.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah presided over the sitting while Bushra Rehman and Sohail Warriach were chief guests. Speakers included former Press Gallery president Najam Wali Khan and Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Committee President Babar Dogar. HNPIP Director Absar Abdul Ali was the moderator.
Rana Sanaullah said the quality of journalism and journalists are far better now than a decade ago. He said such workshops were necessary for both journalists and parliamentarians. He said the government would do all it could to protect the rights of journalists. He also endorsed the idea of live assembly reporting.
Najam Wali Khan said that the assemblies and the politicians have little focus on legislation. He endorsed the point that the discussions on the assembly floor and standing committees should be made open to the public and journalists through media. He said journalist should report the true substance of discussions.
Sohail Warraich said reporting of parliamentary proceedings were akin to walking on a tightrope. He advised the journalists to portray parliament well with detailed reports. “A reporter must be impartial and objective” he held. He said that there should be live assembly coverage as is done in other advanced countries. He said that there was a separate TV Channel for this purpose in the US. HNPIP Director floated the proposal to introduce a separate public sector channel that could ensure live assembly coverage.
Press Club Gallery President Babar Dogar said the journalist had an important part in creating public awareness and holding governments accountable. He said reporters should concentrate on the positive side of assembly proceedings rather focusing on sensational issues. “There is little business on issues like law and order and working of public sector departments in assembly, so the reporters ignore the assembly sessions” Dogar said. He said that the Media Houses should depute senior reporters to cover assembly proceedings and train the new comers in the reporting. Parliamentary reporters should have basic information on parliamentary affairs and its rules and regulations, Dogar said. Bushra Rehman said that the parliamentarians lacked preparation and took least interest in the proceeding that was a reason behind poor parliamentary reporting. The reporters, she said, should avoid extracting spicy statements to avoid sensationalism.