The Ethical Journalism Network has established a vigorous national partnership in Pakistan which is promoting reform of the country’s diverse, exuberant and often chaotic media landscape.
In a country where traditions of political pressure from government and non-state actors pose a constant threat to independent journalism, the media landscape has been transformed by an explosion of private broadcast media in a highly competitive environment which has led to massive challenges for journalism.
In 2011 a number of ethical scandals have threatened to overwhelm media leading to major questions over the performance of existing regulators – the self-regulating press council and the state agency PEMRA, which covers broadcasting.
Working with the media development group Internews Europe on a programme funded by the European Union, the EJN has brought together media owners, editors, journalists’ unions and media support groups to form the Coalition for Ethical Journalism.
The Coalition has already carried out a national survey on ethical standards and has held discussions with regulators about the need to develop credible and efficient systems for self-regulation. A web-site has been established – www.pakmediaethics.org.
The Coalition is in discussion with the Pakistan Press Council on actions to strengthen its work after years of inactivity. Debates are also being promoted inside major media houses including Dawn, GEO TV and Express-Tribune group on how to strengthen internal standards of governance and ethical practice.