Journalists and Media Launch Code of Conduct to Combat Corruption, Hate Speech and Pakistan’s Culture of Dirty Politics
Pakistan media leaders have launched a historic code of conduct for journalism in an unprecedented effort to combat corruption and political pressure in the upcoming national election campaign.
‘Elections in Pakistan are threatened by corruption’ said Mazhar Abbas, Chair of the Coalition for Ethical Journalism and Director of Current Affairs at Express TV News. ‘Some people think the upcoming election will be bought not fought, but this code will ensure that journalism is able to function freely, safely and, above all, ethically, during the election.’
Media organisations and journalists from across Pakistan, and working on all media platforms are being urged to follow the code which includes a detailed checklist on how media can deliver ethical, impartial and honest reporting.
Only by doing so the media will serve the public interest, promote democracy, freedom and tolerance say the Coalition for Ethical Journalism, which unites journalists and media support groups across the country. ‘This code is an antidote to the poison of hate speech and intolerance’ said Aidan White, Director of the Global Ethical Journalism Network, which has been working closely with the Pakistan Coalition.
‘Journalists and media leaders are determined to support ethical reporting and media independence. We hope all politicians and the election authorities will support this unprecedented call for effective self-regulation’. Also backing the code was Fahad Husain, leading anchor at WAQT who told the meeting ‘This code is much needed. It is a start and will help media stakeholders face up to the enormous problems that are currently facing journalists at all levels. We must get buy in and support from all media owners and editors.’
‘Media is the fourth pillar of the state’, said MQM Parliamentarian, Farooq Sattar, also speaking at today’s meeting. Media plays an important and responsible role. Pakistan is 65 years old, but our free media is hardly ten years old. They are learning and maturing.
We need a free media but freedom without responsibility is no freedom. The stakes are very high because media lays the foundations of democracy. In a nutshell the media can help to prevent pre and post-election rigging, disillusionment and apathy of voters. This is why independent, honest and impartial reporting is so important.
The code was discussed and ratified at a series of round table meetings of senior media leaders in Karachi and Lahore (20, 21 November) and finally today in Islamabad (November 22). Over 40 leaders and influencers from print and electronic media, mainstream political parties and civil society networks attended a round table conference held at Islamabad’s Hillview hotel.
The Pakistan Coalition plans to ask the Election Commission of Pakistan and the country’s major political parties to note the code and to respect the rights of journalists and media to report fairly and without any interference during the upcoming period.
Code of conduct for Pakistan Media and Elections and Election Coverage Checklist for Pakistan media is attached with this press release.
More information can be obtained from:
Coalition Co-coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pakistan Coalition Chairman: Muhammad Ziauddin, email@example.com
International Director: Aidan White firstname.lastname@example.org