Independent online media crucial in shaping future of public-centric journalism in Pakistan
Islamabad: As per universal journalistic ethics, truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public-centric journalism should be some important ingredients of journalism, but that is not the case with the mainstream news media in Pakistan as most of them are serving the powerful forces while compromising public issues, this was the crux of the two-day conference of the representatives of Pakistan’s Independent Online Journalism Platforms.
The conference was jointly organized by International Media Support, Freedom Network and IRADA in Lahore. The representatives of as many as 12 independent online journalism groups attended the conference and discussed the issues and challenges faced by independent online journalism platforms due to the growing restrictions of the government on the freedom of speech and expression and financial issues faced by professional journalists.
At the end of the conference, a declaration was signed by all representatives of Pakistan’s Independent Online Journalism Platforms.
The representatives were also in consensus to constitute a committee which will not only be responsible to modify the Lahore conference declaration, but to discuss challenges faced by independent online journalism and suggest the ways forward.
In the last few years, our mainstream media has almost run-out of the public interest issues and instead of covering public issues, they have become representatives of the powerful forces, said Adnan Rehmat – International Media Support – while talking to The Reporters.
Adnan said that the problems of downtrodden are being ignored in the mainstream media in Pakistan due to which professional journalists are setting up their own independent online journalism platforms, despite limited resources and growing restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
The problems of downtrodden are being ignored in the mainstream media in Pakistan due to which professional journalists are setting up their own independent online journalism platforms: Adnan Rehmat- IMS
Talking about the newly established body, Adnan Rehmat said, these groups are following the ethic of professional journalism but due to financial limits their contribution could not be visible so far, adding that our support and facilitation can shape the future of public interest journalism in Pakistan.
About the recent legislation, Adnan said that the laws on the use of the internet are being tightened day by day, which will have an impact not only on the above-mentioned journalistic groups but also on all internet users.
The International Media Support representative said that the government should take every section of the society affected by these laws into confidence, adding that unfortunately that is not happening.
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Zari Jalil, a founding member of Pakistan’s Independent Online Journalism Platforms, said online journalism faces many problems, including pressure from the state, censorship and financial difficulties, adding that absence of independent online journalism representation that would highlight their problems forced professional journalists to establish their own representative body.
, adding that unlike print and electronic media, there was no representative body of online journalism organizations that would highlight the problems of these organizations and play a role in addressing their problems.
Absence of independent online journalism representation that would highlight their problems forced professional journalists to establish their own representative body: Xari Jalil- Voicepk
She said that the establishment of this association will help not only highlighting the problems of online journalism organizations in Pakistan but globally.
Aftab Alam – chief executive of IRADA – said that the laws being enacted in Pakistan on the Internet, especially the rules and regulations on the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, have affected Internet users. Such rules and regulation will create further complications for independent online journalism.
The mainstream media are losing public trust due to missing coverage of their issues and in such situations, online journalism can play a crucial role: Aftab Alam -IRADA
The IRADA chief executive further said that the mainstream media are losing public trust due to missing coverage of their issues and in such situations, online journalism can play a crucial role in retaining public trust.