German Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Michael Koch has said that Germany actively supports the independent media in Pakistan because media is an integral part and a pre-condition to strong and stable democracy in any society.
He was delivering his keynote address at the national media conference hosted by Individual land Pakistan, a non-profit consultancy, in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation at a local hotel.
“Pakistani media hold enough independence and is a source of hope for the long-term democracy in Pakistan,” said Dr Koch. The ambassador also said that practicing journalism in Pakistan was a serious and risky business and hats off to its practitioners who are braving the conditions to further the cause of vibrant media.
The two-day of media conference titled Pakistan Media: Present and Future drew a large number of journalists from all parts of the country including a strong contingent from KPK. Individual land is hosting this conference at the heels of long series workshops across the country to sensitize the media on gender equity issues. The series was supported by Aurat foundation and USAID.
Gulmina Bilal Ahmed, director of IL opened the morning session with some striking statistics. “Since 1992, as many as 41 journalists have laid down their lives in the line of duty. The media in Pakistan today is on the forefront of conflict without much safeguards,” said Ms Bilal in her opening remarks.
Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident Director Friedrich Naumann Foundation said that FNF in partnership with Individual land started the concept of Free, Independent, Responsible Media (FIRM) and the foundation would like to continue promoting the professional and independent media.
In the second session of the day the conference heard the views on citizen’s media space vs commercial space. The participants were involved in the discussion on the basics like what media stands for while exploring contemporary themes like urban base and rural bias.
During the last session of the day the panelists picked on the themes Dissecting the Jihadi Media. The session was presided by Samina Ahmed, Director International Crises Group. Fellow panelists Amir Rana from Pakistan Institutes of Peace Studies and Syed Irfan Ashraf from journalism department of Peshawar University.
Dr Ahmed said that one would have to define what constitutes jihadi media or one should not equate Jihadi media with non-violent sectarian media. Rana said that there had to me distinction from radical media and militant media.