Fourth meeting of PCOMS Steering Committee (Karachi)

Decisions of the Steering Committee

  1. Appointment of Special Prosecutor on Violence against Media

The Steering Committee felt the appointment of special public prosecutor would be helpful in putting pressure on the police for investigating and further processing cases of media attacks.

As UNESCO had taken the lead in studying the appointment of such prosecutors in other countries, the Steering committee requested UNESCO, Islamabad to prepare a concept paper on how the office of special prosecutor has functioned in other countries, such as Mexico and Colombia. COMS could then approach to the provincial governments with details of what would be expected from governments for appointment of special public prosecutor on violence against media.

The Steering Committee created a Working Group on Appointment of Special Prosecutor on Violence against Media and designated Mr. Mazhar Abbas as the Chair of the working group.

The working group will present a report at the next meeting of the Steering Committee and also propose for members of the working group that would carry forward the directions of the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee asked the COMS Secretariat to prepare a preliminary list of cases of violence against media of various press freedom organizations so that a determination could be made on cases that could be perused in courts. The Steering Committee also asked the COMS to submit the list and details of attacks on media in each quarterly meeting.

  1. Developing Safety Protocols for Media Organisations and Professionals

The Steering Committee agreed to assist media organizations develop safety protocols for media personnel, as they could be important in minimizing security threats. The meeting stressed the need for training of editors, owners, newsroom staff, reporters and district correspondents to sensitize them about the issue of safety.

The SC meeting asked the COMs secretariat to gather protocols that may have been developed by civil society and media organizations in Pakistan and internationally. These protocols could be the basis of consultations to develop a framework for developing safety protocols by individual media Organisations.

The Steering Committee decided to establish a Working Group on Developing Safety Protocols for Media and unanimously agreed to appoint Mr. Mohammed Ziauddin as the chair.

  1. Legislation on Media Safety

The meeting requested UNESCO, Islamabad to prepare a brief note on whether such legislation exists in other countries and what the impact of such legislation has been in those countries. The issue of legislation on media safety at federal and provincial level would be discussed in greater detail in the next meeting of the Steering Committee.

  1. Designation of Contact Persons on violence against media at federal and provincial level.

The meeting asked the federal and provincial governments to designate contact persons on violence against media so that media professionals, civil society organizations and concerned citizens may be able to get information on progress regarding specific cases of violence against media personnel.

  1. Condemnation of Attack on Express Media Group

The Steering Committee strongly condemned the attack on the offices of Express Media Group in Karachi and called for proper investigation of the incident so that the responsible can be brought to book. The meeting also demanded the government to provide proper security to all media houses and professionals.

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