19 Jul 2019

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Social media, coverage of terror threat & media feud – ICMC 2nd session

 

By: Haleema Asad

Bahria University Islamabad Campus (BUIC) – The 2nd session of International Conflict on Media Conflict (ICMC) took place on 27th February Wednesday highlighting the role of Pakistan’s role in content violent extremists.

The conference consisted of 35 speakers including journalists from international and national news networks, top academics from national universities and, the Facebook team. All students and professors from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (major, masters and, PhD.) were invited to attend the phenomenal conference.

The second session continued; discussing, evaluating and, analysing the main topic of discussion ‘media’. The two themes for the remaining conference were (1) The reasons of evolution of terrorist threat and media coverage, (2) Social media and conflict in Pakistan. The reason for this conference was to increase awareness in mainly those students aspiring to follow in the line of media and journalism.

One of the major discussions was the type of media coverage that is and should be provided to the public and, how to effectively act against hate speech. The panellist not only discussed the problems but, also gave promising solutions to the highlighted problems.

Dr. Hassan Abbas a professor and chair at National Defence University’s College of International Security Affairs in Washington DC mentions on media training, “Social media has gone out of control, special training is required”. This was supported by Quatrina Hosain a Senior Journalist who when question on whether the gap that needs to be addressed is academic in response said “We who have worked effortlessly with the best of the best recognize the fact that special ability is required for journalism. The gaps in our history have left us confused as to who we are. This lack of identity especially in media studies stunts the presentation of arguments presented during coverage of live events.” She went further presenting her opinion on the dislike of citizen journalism and that this explosion of media is not one that our country has effective control of.

Mr. Zaffar Abbas, Editor of DAWN said “Media is not necessarily enticing warmongering. It is something that is linked to society. We must value peace and study and analyze serious literature and problems and different shades of violent extremism.”

The ending speech for the first session of the second day of the conference was conducted by MNA Mr. Shehryar K. Afridi, Minister of Interior. He mentioned the three main things we need to focus on; shaping public opinion, effective government policies and an image of society. Multiple times he said in his speech that we need to undertake a collective proactive role in responsible presentation and that, “It is about humanity!”

There are no single truths and we need to stop relying on them. We should explore more avenues of ideas, sources of information, opinions and lifestyles. By broadening these we will not be held hostage by one source of information. Bias is endemic to human conditions. Today the war of terrorism is the war of narratives. Humanity is a priority and we need to realize the importance of humanity where nuclear deterrence is the solution to a problem.

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