Pak media summit backs mode of ethics, self-regulation
RE (PR) - A national summit of journalists in Lahore, organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), adopted a plan of action to strengthen journalism and media ethics in Pakistan.
In what the IFJ describes as "a breakthrough moment" for journalism, the summit involving more than 120 journalists from throughout Pakistan endorsed a programme to establish a national code of journalistic ethics; develop a proposal for an independent media complaints commission and ensure that journalists across the country receive long-overdue wage increases.
Editors and publishers present at the meeting, held on August 2, agreed to implement immediate increases in staff salaries and endorsed the programme for strengthening professional ethics and self-regulation of Pakistan's media. According to a press release issued by PFUJ on Tuesday, the summit adopted a 26-point draft code of ethics and agreed to a work programme that would investigate setting up an independent media complaints commission, to be adopted in collaboration with associations of publishers, editors and broadcasters.
PFUJ President Huma Au will lead a committee to draft a proposal on the recommended operation and structure of the new commission. The committee will report within one month of its constitution. Arif Nizami, editor of The Nation, who is also president of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), supported the initiative taken by the PFUJ and IFJ and assured his complete support in this regard.
"I fully endorsed the decision taken by the PFUJ and ITJ regarding the code of ethic and will take up the issue in the CPNE meeting," he assured. Mr Arif Nizami also called for improvement in the working conditions for journalists and said that keeping in view the rising inflation, his organisation has decided to give 20 per cent raise in wages to all media staff.
Amid increasing threats and attacks against the media by state and non-state actors, the summit registered deep concerns about the deteriorating security situation for journalists and media workers in Pakistan.
The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rahman, told the summit that the Government would support any endeavour from the journalists' community to adopt an independent code of ethics.
The Minister added that her government would soon convene a tripartite meeting to discuss implementation of the Seventh Wage Award.