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‘Media should play positive role in promoting Indo-Pak ties’

New Delhi: Media of India and Pakistan should continuously engage with each other and promote a “balanced” and “positive approach” in news coverage to improve bilateral ties, a conference of legislators and journalists of the two countries underscored.

Held in Dubai amidst chill in the relations between the two countries, the ‘India-Pakistan Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue on Sharing of Experiences on Governance and Democracy’ emphasised that media can play a role in positively influencing relations between the two countries.

A “joint statement” issued after the conference yesterday stressed that dialogue is the only way forward for the two countries to improve relations and the essential responsibility to chart a course in this regard remains that of the elected leadership in both India and Pakistan.

At the same time, it underlined “the critical need for positive and continuous engagement between Pakistani and Indian media”.

“… The participants highlighted that institutional arrangements in two countries through the respective professional associations and forums of owners, editors and journalists must be facilitated for dialogue,” the declaration said.

“While promoting a balanced and positive approach in news media of both countries towards improving relations, the Dialogue recognised and appreciated the diversity of opinion in the Indian and Pakistan media.

“In doing so, the participants recalled the earlier Joint Communique of March 10, 2016 on the subject that urged media in both countries towards the requirements of objective and professional reporting upholding the core values and cardinal principles of journalism. In particular, sensationalism and negative hype must be avoided,” the declaration said.

The Indian delegation was led by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and included AAP and Congress MLAs of Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana besides six journalists.

The Pakistani side was headed by Senator Javed Jabbar and included legislators from various parties and journalists representing various organisations.