PESHAWAR: Speakers at the Media Conference here on Thursday called for the resolution of the issues of media persons to enable them to effectively play their role as human rights defenders.

The event titled ‘media, gender and right to service’ highlighted the significance of different mediums of media and stressed the need for their use for the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence and change in the people’s attitudes towards social issues through better awareness.

It was organised by Blue Veins in collaboration with the Peshawar Press Club and Right to Public Service Commission.

Provincial anti-harassment ombudsperson Rukhshanda Naz said gender-based violence was one of the most prevalent human rights abuses.

Experts call for resolution of journalists’ issues

She said journalists could play a fundamental role in highlighting the voice of the people, whose rights were violated.

Ms Naz said media could help highlight interventions and change attitudes, practices and behaviours, which drove violence against women.

Chief Commissioner of the Right to Public Services Commission Mohammad Mushtaq Jadoon said the media was playing the role of an ‘agenda setter’, which could easily disseminate information and influence public opinion.

He said the use of modern media tactics could promote human rights.

Right to Information Commissioner Riaz Daudzai said the media played a vital role in raising awareness of gender-based violence as it set the agenda, which gave it the power to dictate what people saw and hear and shaped their attitudes towards different aspects of life.

Programme coordinator of Blue Veins Qamar Naseem said media was one of the pillars of power to influence public attitudes and social structure.

He said the government and non-government service providers were struggling to improve response services to gender-based violence, so they needed to become skilled at engaging journalists in their coordinated efforts as an integral part of advocacy.

Journalists Aqeel Yousafzai and Waseem Ahmad called for the adoption of multimedia engagement approach.

They said an intensive multimedia campaign would help reduce and prevent gender-based violence and ensure that the survivors have safe and improved access to services.

Chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Peshawar, Dr Faizullah Jan said to improve the role of media towards better understanding of gender roles, social attitudes and root causes of gender-based violence, there was a need for ensuring adequate capacity development and sensitisation for effective media reporting on gender-based violence issues.

General secretary of Khyber Union of Journalists Mohammad Naeem said such events could suggested actions to policymakers and the media for advocating a stronger legal and regulatory environment to support voluntary, equitable and rights-based programmes.

The conference also contributed into the signing of a statement by media representatives promising commitment to addressing sexual and gender-based violence in collaboration with provincial and national stakeholders.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019

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