PESHAWAR: It would be ideal if there is a separate channel for highlighting problems of Afghan refugees and citizens and if it is not possible now then at least a full program must be dedicated for Afghans, their problems, training and awareness, says Afghan journalist Qandi Safi.
TNN arranged a special program ‘Problems in access to information’ in connection with the World Refugee Day on Saturday. The program was hosted by Naheed Jahangir and participated by Qandi Safi and Nowshera-based journalist Khalida Niaz.
Pakistan hosts the fifth largest number of refugees in the world.
“Life of displacement is not so easy. I could not sleep on first night of arrival in Pakistan not because of any problem or fear, but because of continuous thinking that how much peace is important for a peaceful life,” said Qandi Safi.
She said she started a new life after arrival in Pakistan which was very peaceful as there was no noise of bullets or rocket launchers.
“The problems of Afghan refugees are not highlighted in effective manner on the mainstream media. There are many big channels in Pakistan, but appropriate time is not dedicated to the issues of Afghan refugees. Men somehow manage to get access to information, but women don’t have these facilities and they remain uninformed most of the times from crucial developments,” Khalida Niaz said.
She said most refugee women are illiterate and they don’t know how to access mainstream and social media. She said even the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of Pakistan are not getting due coverage in the mainstream media.
Khalida Niaz said she has worked for highlighting problems of Afghan refugees and TDPs of Pakistan and she strongly feels that they need more coverage and exposure in the media. She suggested that a specific beat for reporters on refugees and TDPs can be created by the media organisations to bridge this gap.
Qandi Safi said most Afghan refugee women depend on TV for news and entertainment, but that access is also very limited due to excessive power load-shedding. She complained that media organisations don’t invite experts and representatives of refugees in their programs. She said Afghan refugees and citizens too don’t show much inclination towards appearing on media. She said this trend must be changed if problems of the refugees are to be resolved effectively.