Role of Media in Conflict Situations discussed

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a conference highlighted that the significant elements required while reporting in conflict situation included responsibility, impartiality and accuracy – in short the basic ethics of journalism. Media persons at the meeting stressed that media need to play its due role by bridging people and creating understanding among diverse communities, while it was also highlighted that media should be self accountable. These views were shared at a seminar entitled “Role of Media in Conflict Situations” organized by Individual-land Pakistan (NGO) held here at a local hotel on Thursday.

The participants highlighted the need for an institution for training of journalists and to develop a code of conduct for journalists working in conflict zones, along with standardizing the safety procedures that can help to survive in the conflict situation.

The participants included veteran journalists, Syed Irfan, Shamim Shahid, Absar Ikram Hoti, Ali Saleem (Search for Common Ground) and Adnan Rahmat (Intermedia), Mazhar Arif as well as Gulmina Bilal Ahmad Ex. Dir. Individual-land Pakistan (IP).

“Education, training and knowledge of ethics” were defined as three most vital features of rational reporting
by Syed Irfan.

It was also pointed out at the meeting that Pakistan has been classified as one of the most dangerous countries of the world and the volatile situation in the country has affected the freedom of journalists and the media, as the threat of terrorism has now also engulfed them in the conflict. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in 2010, fifteen journalists have died in Pakistan, due to violence related incidents. Adnan Rahmat pointed out that “67 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 9/11 and not a single culprit was apprehended” which depicts the direct impact of terrorism on media persons. He held that following the ethics of journalism is the only solution to tackle various issues within media house.

The participants assumed that there are four partners in the conflict zone including terrorists, feeders, planners and manipulators and a reporter in the conflict zone is exposed to all these partners. And only a trained reporter can understand the need to educate public about the exact situation. The participants suggested that “journalists can only play their due role while reporting from the conflict situation, by being fully informed of the situation through media training.”

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