The Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), University of the Punjab arranged a special lecture on ‘Ethical Journalism‘. This was the third time in the past two years that the Institute touched issues pertaining to Media and Ethics by inviting media professionals who are related with field work. However, this time instead of personnels belonging to national media outlets a journalist working for the BBC was given a chance to share his views about the ethical dimension of journalism.
Mobeen Azhar a British born Pakistani delivered his lecture by relying on a comparative approach based on British and Pakistani context. The purpose of the lecture was to stress the need for media accountability and to treat “ethics and responsibility” as the top most priority instead of hunting for material gains. To support his argument, Mobeen shared a presentation with the students that included three examples from British newspapers and two examples from Pakistani broadcast media.
After his presentation, Mobeen concluded along with the students who contributed during the lecture that the problem of ethics exists in both the British and Pakistani media. However, the difference lies in the stringent measures of accountability to discourage unethical practices.
Other alarming aspects were raised during the discussion that followed the lecture.
Not only does Pakistani media avoid accountability of irresponsible journalists, but they also continue to be a part of the mainstream media by switching over to other networks on higher salaries
Public interest is compromised to push ethics aside and to save vested interests.
In the UK, Public Service Broadcasting saved the media outlets from falling into the hands of advertisers.
Mobeen agreed that Pakistan is a young country and the media is even younger (especially electronic media), but individuals especially journalists cannot rely on ‘hoping for the best’. Although being ethical while being a part of Pakistani media was an uphill task, but this shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, a weak regulatory system like PEMRA in Pakistan calls for a stronger sense of responsibility within the Journalistic community of Pakistan, in his opinion.