ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Coalition on Media Safety (PCOMS) and the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) are hosting a two-day international conference on January 27-28 to discuss the issue of impunity and growing insecurity of journalists in Pakistan.
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and over a hundred journalists have been killed in the line of duty since the year 2000.
The main objective of this conference is to work towards better legislation to combat impunity and ensure media safety in Pakistan.
The conference will bring together representatives from journalist bodies, associations, national and international civil society, academia and political parties to consult on a set of policy recommendations for journalists’ protection.
An extensive research report based on UNESCO’s Journalist Safety Indicators would be launched on the first day of the conference.
This report looks at the respective roles of journalists, media houses, civil society and government for media safety.
The conference marks an important step in the implementation of UN Action Plan against Impunity in Pakistan.
The United Nations launched the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity in 2013. Pakistan is one of the five countries in which the UN Plan has been piloted.
The UN Plan seeks to facilitate key stakeholders including the media, state, government authorities, civil society and international media support organisations to undertake joint and collaborative actions to combat impunity.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist, International Federation of Journalists, Pakistan Broadcasting Association, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and other representative media and journalist bodies will be participating in the conference. Key national and International groups including UNESCO, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Press Foundation, Committee for Protection of Journalists, Reporters without Borders, South East Asia Press Alliance and University of Sheffield will also be represented. In an effort to gain commitment of political parties to provide safer environment for freedom of expression and media freedoms, representatives from PML-N, PPP, PTI, MQM, JI and other political parties have also been invited.
The conference is being organised and hosted by CPDI, an independent, non-partisan and a not-for-profit civil society organisation working on issues of peace and development in Pakistan. CPDI specialises in promotion of peace and tolerance, rule of law, transparency, right to information, budget watch, legislative watch and democratic development.
The conference is a part of its Media Watch programme, under which CPDI has led a multi-stakeholder, consultative effort to prepare a set of policy recommendations for the government to combat impunity and ensure safety and security of journalists in Pakistan.
These recommendations will be presented to the government at the end of the conference.