Women and media: ingredients of change for a better tomorrow


KARACHI – There is a need to formulate a national media policy – one that can bring about positive change in society and perpetuate the reality of women’s vital role in building countries, said Sindh Women’s Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto on Friday while speaking at a seminar titled ‘Women as agents of change.” Arranged by the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA)-Pakistan in collaboration with Women Media Centre (WMC), the seminar was organised to deliberate ways and means of how the media can play a role in enhancing women’s rights for the betterment of society.
“Without women’s participation, development of any country is not possible. But women need proper education and guidance through the media. The media has the power to change the mindsets of the masses. I believe that it should focus on educating society, and not promoting sensationalism,” Bhutto said.
The minister extended an offer to the WMC to work with the Women’s Development Department, explaining that her department was interested in establishing an FM channel for women’s awareness, but the project had to be shelved because of the shortage of funds. However, she said, her department is still in contact with international organisations to procure funding and there may yet be good news in future. WMC Executive Director Fouzia Shaheen said that the world can only be changed for the positive if women are taken on board the decision making process – both at national and international levels. “Women were not involved in making atomic bombs to destroy mankind; they are mothers and would never want wars in the world,” she said.
Shaheen paid tribute to women in the media for having proved their mettle in investigative, political and social journalism. “Women in the media are working on serious national and international issues, and we at the WMC are providing free technical training to newcomers and working journalists in the media,” she said.
The WMC executive director thanked the CJA for its role in supporting more half a billion women in the commonwealth countries, adding that gender equality in opportunities and protection can go a long way in addressing countless predicaments that the world large faces today.
CJA-Pakistan President S.M Fazal explained that one of the preconditions of setting up a chapter of the association in anywhere was that the particular country must be a democracy. In 1999, after the military takeover of General Musharraf, Pakistan’s membership from the organization was suspended.