Search For Justice, a member of the GNRC, organized a dialogue workshop in collaboration with the Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab on October 2018 to discuss the role of media in preventing violence against children. Eighty (80) students from the department attended the dialogue session. Senior journalists, the head of the Institute of Mass Communication, and the Executive Director, Search For Justice participated as panellists.
During discussions, it was noted that the media plays a crucial role not only in reporting events but also in shaping what we think and how we think about those events, thus have an immense responsibility to inform, educate and influence public opinion. Panellists noted that the media plays the role of a watchdog, pushing the government to fulfill its commitments, specifically child protection as provided for under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Sustainable Development Goals. They urged students to observe impartiality as a key principle and code of conduct in their career. “You should not be swindled or persuaded by any greater power or political influence. Be accurate and truthful in your reporting, because it may influence someone’s life,” Mr. Iftikhar Mubarik, Executive Director, Search For Justice noted. Responsible reporting on ending violence against children and restoring the dignity of children and their families was also stressed.
Panellists also challenged the students to take up their role as media practitioners to be excellent custodians and disseminators of information.
Media education is slowly gaining ground in Pakistan; universities continue to offer media education, civil society probe demand for media rights and the society is informed on the media’s role from an international perspective. The standard of existing media education in Pakistan is also improving.