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CIME Forum 2013 Observed Need for Ethical Journalism in Pakistan

Islamabad, PK – 24 August 2013 – Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Coalition for Ethical Journalism and the Center for International Media Ethics, hosted a two days CIME Forum 2013 in Pakistan. CIME Forum was organized for the first time in Pakistan, jointly with renowned journalists, academicians and students of different journalism institutions across the country. The primary objective of the Forum was to highlight the challenges and opportunities of practicing ‘ethical journalism in the digital age’.
“The Center for International Media Ethics CIME is a non-profit organization bringing together a network of media professionals throughout the world to provide training, discussion and expertise in the ethics of their profession. Our driving emphasis is that media professionals take responsibility in shaping society” Said Puruesh Chaudhary, CIME Ambassador for Pakistan at the 5th Annual CIME Forum in Islamabad.

Puruesh said that CIME focuses on training, awareness and capacity-building in the field of professional media ethics. CIME encourages media professionals to take on a proactive role in defining ethical practices through the choices and decisions at work on their daily lives. We urge our media professionals to work together to make their own judgments and identify their own strategies in ethics. CIME’s goal is to improve the overall media ethics standards everywhere in the world, she further said.

Senior Journalists, Dr. Moeed Pirzada, Fahd Hussain, CEO MediaLogic Salman Danish and lead editor for the Media Credibility Index Amir Jahangir in a panel discussion discussed alternative mechanism for content evaluation and rating of current affairs programs. During discussion Fahd Hussain said our media content is becoming commercially driven and there is essential need of content diversity. Dr Moeed Pirzada highlighted the flaws existing in the media policies.

Salman Danish shared his views on the problems of current affairs programs like sensationalism, dependency on advertising for revenue and political, crime-centric programs. He said rating system is based on major nine cities across Pakistan and has a sample size of over four thousand individuals in 700 households.

Lead editor for the Media Credibility Index, Amir Jahangir said, that to improve the State of Media in the country, Mishal Pakistan has been working on a new methodology to create a credibility index for evaluating the content and its delivery mechanism of the Pakistani current affairs anchors. The Index is measured on various verticals of journalistic professionalism, including understanding of the subject matter, professional integrity, depth of subject knowledge, viewer engagement and command over content discourse, biases and impartiality of the subject matter and the overall flow of communication with facts and accuracy.

Secretary Information, Khyber Pakhtonkha, Azmat Hanif Orakzai also addressed the participants and presented the silent features of the Right to Information Ordinance (RTI). “Access to information about all the matter of public importance to the people is a constitutionally obligation and RTI ordinance is big step to fulfill this obligation” he said. Mr. Orakazai said the KPK government has planned a communication strategy to interact with masses and fulfill the information gap between government and public. He shared that, there are 92 countries, who have the Right to Information law and KPK is the first province that presents a comprehensive ordinance with 32 sections.

Earlier, senior journalists Mubashar Zaidi from DAWN News and Rana Jawad of GEO TV discussed the challenges of media industry in Pakistan and said that professionalism in media and the credibility of content and journalists is becoming one of the most interesting debates in the country. They shared that this recent trend is the onset of the masses questioning sensationalism as one of the leading factors for the media industry in India and Pakistan, both failing to address the realities relevant to the society. The negative portrayal of societal morality or conversion of an individual’s belief system incites hatred and despondency among different ethno-cultural communities.

CIME Ambassador for Nepal, Ujjwal Acharaya expressed his views that in emerging markets, the role of the media regulator has also been very limited in developing media to be the enabler for economic growth in the country. This is partially due to the lack of vision at the regulators end and at the Government’s poor performance on developing an effective policy framework to improve the competitiveness of the media sector through multiple revenue models for the industry, said Ujjwal

The CIME Forum is an annual event that brings together media professionals for training, panels and discussion in ethical practices. The Forum is held each year in a different country serving as a platform for regional discussion about media ethics. The first CIME Forum took place in Benin (West Africa) in February 2009, the second in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2010, the third in Budapest, Hungary and the fourth in Thimpu, Bhutan in 2012.

Mishal Pakistan is the partner institute of the Center for International Media Ethics and Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks, World Economic Forum. Mishal assists the forum in creating the soft-data on Pakistan, identifying Pakistan’s competitiveness challenges. Mishal has also launched Pakistan’s first journalism awards on the framework designed jointly with the Center for International Media Ethics and UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators.

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