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SAWM demands amendments to Qanoon-Shahadat, Hudood ordinance

LAHORE (October 12 2008): The South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) has passed a resolution on Saturday rejected all kinds of discrimination in laws and demanded amendment in Qanoon-Shahadat and Hudood ordinance. The resolution rejected all kind of domestic, community and state level discriminatory customs being practised rampantly.

The organisation showed its deepest concern over the rising extremism and intolerance that victimise women in particular. They SAWM members passed the resolution in the concluding session of its conference on women and media challenges and opportunities held at a local hotel.

Further, the resolution demanded that the new democratic government should fulfil its commitment to remove all black laws and restrictions on media replacing them by media friendly laws, as proposed by media stakeholders and South Asia Free Media Association (Safma).

It also condemned women killing in the name of honour and enslavement of women when taken in the so called protective custody of sardars, burning of girl schools, video shops and parlours and the persistent campaign to close the doors of education to girls in some areas of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir said that death sentence should be abolished and sentences should be given according to the level of international standards. She also said that death sentence, if effected, is just an extra judicial killing and criticised media for glorifying violence and portraying terrorists as heroes.

The conference discussed in detail the challenges of gender harassment and discrimination faced by women in media and sought suggestions on how to resolve these issues. Asma Sherazi, Saima Mohsin, Mona Rana, Faakhra Tehreem, Beena Sarwar and Rubina Jamil discussed these challenges in detail. Further, the moot emphasised on making SAWM’s complaint cell more active.

The speakers said that the issue of discriminatory attitude with women journalists was increasing in the big cities as in the small cities one could not get away easily after harassing women at work places. They deplored the discriminatory attitude meted out to women journalists at the work place saying that often women journalists remain behind, as their male colleagues do not entrust important duties on them.

Further, the conference discussing harassment at work place observed that this was the first time that harassment with women journalist was being discussed in the media. It highlighted the challenges in the electronic media and how the women journalists were coping with them.

Zebunnisa Burki gave an interesting presentation on strategy for women’s empowerment and also gave a memorandum presentation. The speakers of the event included two leading journalists, Farzana Ali and Munizae Jahangir, who have worked in conflict areas while prominent parliamentarian, Tehmina Daultana also addressed the conference.
Source: Business Recorder