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Women’s Portrayal: Media, Both Helpful And Troublemaker

ISLAMABAD: Media has played a positive role in highlighting the plight of women. However, in many cases, it has been irresponsible and fostered negativity, suggesting that there is a need to sensitise reporters, editors, programme directors and media owners.

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Journalists highlight the need to sensitise media on gender issues. PHOTO: Express Tribune.

This was the consensus among a group of nearly 25 journalists belonging to print and electronic media at the conclusion of a two-day workshop on gender issues in media here on Tuesday. The workshop was held by Uks Research Centre.

The workshop began with a discussion on various social issues pertaining to media and how reporters could avoid sensationalism while highlighting them. An enthusiastic audience actively participated in the discussion that diverted away from the topic on multiple occasions, forcing the moderator, Uks Executive Producer Tasneem Ahmar, to bring everyone back on the same page.

The discussion was followed by a session on reviewing the gender-sensitive code of ethics prepared by Uks. As Ahmar read out the clauses, the participants suggested changes to make the code more gender responsive. The objective of the exercise, according to Ahmar, was to evolve a code of ethics to extend to both print and media. The code, in its current form, is followed only by the print media.

The participants agreed that the media should respect the right to privacy and maintain professional standards while reporting on women issues.

For instance, the use of glamorous women’s pictures was denounced by all participants, who also agreed that the publication of uncaptioned pictures should only take place after the subject’s approval. They also stressed on including women’s opinions in news pertaining to all sorts of issues rather than women-specific issues, something which they believed was not being practiced at the moment.

“Media is the best thing that has happened to our country, however it should be ethically responsible considering the social consequences,” said Sachet Executive President Dr Rakhshanda Perveen.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2012.