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PPF Seminar on World Press Freedom Day

Date: April 28, 2004
Location: Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) organized a seminar Gender Perspective is essential in Reporting Conflict. The seminar was held, on April 28 at PPF Vicky Zeitlin Media Library, in connection with World Press Freedom Day on May 3. This year the World Press Freedom Day focused on media’s coverage of conflict.

Speakers at a seminar emphasized giving women’s perspective a due share, by media, particularly while reporting conflicts and wars.

Mr. Owais Aslam Ali, Chairman Pakistan Press International (PPI) and Secretary General PPF, introduced the topic and said tolerance for press freedom has reduced through out the world.

He said Article 19 of the constitution provides freedom of press and is also an essential pre-requisite for democracy. He cited examples of French journalists, their Pakistani fixer Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, US lady journalist Griswold Aliza Tracy and Sami Yousafzai. He said being a Pakistani journalist was a problem in Pakistan as Pakistani journalists were being treated at par. Mr. Aslam Ali also urged to maintain the image of profession of journalism.

Dr. Fouzia Jaffery, Professor Mass Communication Department, University of Karachi, said coverage of women issues have increased in recent years which make people assume that violence against women has risen. She observed that male reporters were also working actively to highlight women iss
ues.

She regretted the lack of follow – up, in cases of murder of women or suicide committed by them, reduces importance of issues. She emphasized the need to promote view points of women, about wars and political issues.

Ms. Beena Sarwar, producer of Geo Television said in order to improve the situation, with regard to gender perspective in reporting conflict, the owners of media organizations should support women to work on their own issues. She added if women do not have gender perspective, it would be better to have men reporters with gender perspective.

She added that conflict arises when women go against any family or cultural norm. She said that it is the responsibility of the media to report the causes of violence against women. She identified resistance by the family, lack of proper transport and gender biases at work as obstacles in conflict reporting. Citing the incidents of former East Pakistan and operation in Balochistan, she added that women tolerate the effects of such conflicts and wars and it was shameful that their perspective was not given.

Ms. Maheen A. Rashidi, Columnist / Research Feature Writer, Daily Dawn, said women should not be used as a means to increase sensationalism. She observed that stereotyping gender related stories was common. She said male journalists often sensationalize women related stories, which itself was a crime.

List of Speakers
Name
Designation
Organization
Dr. Fauzia Jaffery
Professor – Mass Communication Department
University of Karachi
Ms. Beena Sarwar
Producer
GEO TV — Karachi
Ms. Maheen A. Rashidi
Freelance Columnist / Research Feature Writer
Daily Dawn
Mr. Owais Aslam Ali
Secretary General
Pakistan Press Foundation

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