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‘Media can transform hate into tolerance’

October 09, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8: Media carries immense power to transform a conflict by enabling peace through balanced, ethical and responsible reporting that promotes tolerance against hate.

These views were expressed by TV anchorpersons and talk-show hosts on the first day of a consultative workshop on peace building held here on Monday.

Around 27 TV anchorpersons and talk-show hosts hailing from 25 districts of Pakistan are participating in a two-day national consultative workshop entitled “Media for Peace” jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Search for Common Ground, Pakistan, supported by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

On the workshop's first day, a panel discussion entitled “Can Television Play a Role in Transforming Conflict and Building Peace?” saw senior TV anchorpersons holding a dialogue with participating journalists on Pakistani media's coverage of violence and conflict.

Moderated by Dr Moeed Pirzada (PTV News), the discussion featured Absaar Alam (Aaj TV), Arshad Sharif (Dunya TV), and Asma Shirazi (DawnNews).

The panellists discussed the role television plays as a mass medium in mitigating conflicts and promoting peace.

They highlighted current media practices in coverage of conflicts at international, regional and national levels, and whether media should take the responsibility of creating spaces for peace building.

During the discussion, the panellists also talked about self- censorship and accountability in the media, and argued that accurate and unbiased reporting coupled with professional ethics can be useful in reducing conflicts.

During the two-day workshop built around 'common ground' approaches, anchors and talk-show hosts from major national and regional television channels from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK will explore the role of media in conflict transformation and peace-building.

The workshop is being held as part of the “Pakistan Peace Initiative”, a collaboration of SFCG, Pakistan and SDPI.—APP