TV anchors, media persons urged to abide code of ethics

PEMRA launches training programme on code of conduct

Staff Reporter

Eminent anchors, journalists and media persons Monday discussed in detail the scope and role of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), it Code of Conduct 2015 and importance of self-accountability by media houses and anchorpersons. They agreed that time had come for TV channels and media houses to abide by the code of ethics, internal or PEMRA’s whatever.
They were attending the launching ceremony of a countrywide interactive training programme PEMRA is going to hold with TV channels and media houses. The speakers highlighted the need of responsible reporting and content-check at the newsroom level. The launching ceremony was divided into panel discussions which were addressed by noted anchors and media persons and attended by a large number of journalists, members of civil society, reporters and students. Topic of the first panel discussion of the day was “Media: Independent but less responsible.”
Noted columnist Ammar Masood was the moderator of the first panel discussion while eminent media persons Murtaza Solangi, Matiullah Jaan, Amber Shamsi, GM Operations PEMRA Tahir Sheikh and Ali Gilani Advocate were among the panelists. Amber Shamsi shared her experience of work in BBC where every anchor/producer has to learn by heart the code of conduct before going on air. Murtaza Solangi former DG Radio Pakistan said the media owners needed to learn that journalism was not like other businesses. It is something very sacred and responsible. Ammar Masood said self-accountability was an evolutionary progress and it found its roots in the social and cultural roots of the society.
Legal expert Syed Ali Gilani briefed the audience about the Code of Conduct and its various clauses related with violations.
Tahir Sheikh said mostly PEMRA received complaints about News & Current Affairs programmes. Matiullah Jaan was of the view that PEMRA’s actions should not be set aside by the courts of the country. Topic of the Panel Discussion II was “Fake images and fake news: how social media is affecting journalism?” Amber Shamsi was the moderator while anchor persons Salim Safi, Hamid Mir, Fareeha Idrees, Rana Jawwad and Rehman Azhar. Hamid Mir was of the view that at least PEMRA was there to check spread of fake news from social media to electronic media. However, he said he supported positive use of social media. Fareeha Idrees said on social media one could see character assassination of Malala Yousafzai and no one is there to check abuse of social media. Rehman Azhar and Rana Jawwad said newsrooms were under the immense pressure of fake news spreading on social media. Hamid Mir held some politicians and lobbies of political parties behind spread of fake news on social media.
The last panel discussion was on ‘Rating vs Truth’. Eminent investigative journalist Umar Cheema was the moderator while Zafar Malik, Shaukat Paracha and Javed Chaudhry were among the panelists. Javed Chaudhry said the current rating system is under the monopoly of certain institutions of the country. Earlier, too, they were managed with the help of viewers in Karachi, Lahore and other big cities. Shaukat Paracha regretted FATA and south Punjab populations were never taken into confidence while determining the rating of a particular TV channel. Earlier, addressing the participants Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam said the purpose of the launch was to hold an open discussion on electronic media code of conduct 2015, and to get feedback from the relevant stakeholders on improving the regulatory function of PEMRA and to bridge the gap between the regulatory authority and relevant stakeholders. He said that in next few months PEMRA teams would visit all the four provinces for these interactive sessions on electronic media code of conduct and press clubs will also be involved in this process.

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