LAHORE, Nov 21: To ensure fair coverage of 2013 elections through a common code of ethics, a consultative meeting of the media stakeholders was held at the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) regional office at Aiwan-i-Iqbal here on Wednesday.
A similar meeting was held in Karachi on Tuesday to devise a joint strategy. The next meeting is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on Thursday to finalise the code of ethics.
The initiative has been taken jointly by the PCP and Ethical Journalism Network in view of the fact that credibility of free Pakistani media would be put to test in the upcoming election. This offers an opportunity to the local media to respond to it fairly, impartially and objectively.
The meeting discussed the media ethics for election coverage draft code agreed upon in Karachi on Tuesday, presented here by the PCP Chairman Raja Shafqat Abbasi.
Mr Abbasi said the PCP had taken many initiatives across the country by involving all stakeholders as it needed their support to evolve a consensus on implementing media ethics.
He said the PCP was in touch with regional media and striving to build capacity of local reporters who sometimes tended to compromise their independence.
He said the PCP would soon initiate a dialogue with political parties asking them to respect right to freedom of expression and avoid putting any pressure on the media persons for undue favours.
Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editor (CPNE) President Jamil Athar said the biggest hurdle in holding and reporting the upcoming election was the peculiar political environment and mindset of traditional cooperative media. He said safety of the journalists was of prime importance and steps should be taken to ensure it.
Zia Shahid highlighted the importance of ethics in the rational development of free media in Pakistan. He said only free but responsible media held a key to all the issues related to the country.
Lauding the initiative, Ethical Journalism Network Director Aidan White hoped such interactions between media persons would lead to development of ethical journalism in Pakistan.
He said the media should itself evolve code of ethics to ensure free and fair coverage of the elections while resisting all pressures, ensuring safety of journalists and the media houses against violence, especially terrorism.