Media in Pakistan work at a cracking pace. On all platforms of journalism media compete fiercely for market and audience share. However, many people, including those inside media, worry that in this overheated atmosphere standards of journalism and media governance are put under strain.
Intolerable time constraints, friction between journalism and commercial objectives and the need to adapt rapidly to changing market conditions all take their toll. Media companies themselves often find it difficult to monitor effectively their own performance and particularly their obligations to be open, inclusive and accountable.
The aim of the EJN’s work in Pakistan is to help media establish a process to measure performance, set goals, and manage change through an organisational report that acts as an internal audit, providing information on the company and its work. The objective is to promote accountability through transparency.
It has been developed by the Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism, a network of journalists, media and media support groups, looking at ways of helping media to keep track of their corporate responsibilities by helping them to achieve their objectives.
The information is important for internal consumption, but it can also form the basis of the company’s strategy for outreach – as an annual report, for instance – to help build trust with the audience.
Ethical Media Audits in Pakistan
The Ethical Media Audits can be used to promote the company’s brand as an ethical and responsible provider of journalism and other information services among all stakeholders including staff, shareholders, and the public.
Whatever form they take, the report should be clear; should be understandable and accessible; should contain information that supports analysis relative to other media; and it should be accurate and detailed enough for stakeholders to assess the company’s performance.
This approach benefits everyone and creates confidence at all levels – including with investors, the workforce and the audience. Most importantly, a systematic review of performance opens the door to greater transparency and makes good business sense. It will increase economic opportunities and enable better and more informed decision-making.
Promoting Ethics and Transparency in Pakistani Media
In 2014 the Pakistan Press Foundation in collaboration with the Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism (the first national initiative of the EJN), published this Needs Assessment on Promoting Ethics and Transparency in Pakistani Media highlighting the processes that need to be put in place for journalism to function within the confines of ethics.
The EJN’s work in Pakistan draws heavily from the detailed and comprehensive international standards of reporting for media drafted by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and GRI’s Media Sector Supplement, which was launched in May 2012.
Photo Credit: PCEJ Annual Meeting themed ‘Ethical Dilemmas for Media in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities’ held on January 29-30, 2015 in Best Western Hotel, Islamabad.