Ethical guidelines and practices for Pakistani television journalists reporting on domestic violence
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15375
Domestic violence is endemic in Pakistan (Baig et al., 2020), yet it took around 66 years of campaigning to acknowledge it as a social problem worthy of legislation. This paper investigates the ethical frameworks in place for Pakistani television news journalists reporting cases of domestic violence. It also examines the provision and structure of training for Pakistani media professionals to support accurate and balanced reporting of such violence. The research for this study comprised in-depth semi-structured interviews with 11 high level television journalists – including news producers. Findings of the study reveal that there were no written ethical guidelines on how to represent incidents of this crime, its victims, or perpetrators. Moreover, due to the paucity of formal professional development opportunities, journalists are mostly limited to on-the-job training in terms of how best to report cases of domestic violence. This also impacts on their approaches to information gathering and dissemination. The research did find that, in comparison to journalists working for national Pakistani news channels, those associated with international news organizations were more aware of and trained in the need to consider how to cover domestic violence ethically, sensitively and in socially responsible ways.
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