Journalism in FATA

  • Journalism in FATA : History shows that the political administration in fata tried its best to stop tribal journalists from showing the real suffering and on ground realities of the tribal people to the outside world. in the process, they went to the extent of putting some journalists behind bars under the notorious collective Territorial Responsibility clause of the Frontier crimes Regulation [ FCR, 1901.] like dictatorial governments, the administration did not even tolerate constructive criticism of the tribal system and went to the extent of expelling dissenting journalists from their areas.
  • In this context, the ability of the FATA media persons to understand the accurate causes of conflict from varied perspectives, reflect on Conflict experience and how human rights are violated during conflict and normal times, analyze the conduct of numerous actors of society in conflict and peace and presenting those in an impartial manner to the wider public can play a very important role in reducing the dimension of violence and augmenting the necessary social capital and political will for cooperation.
  • In conflict situations and where freedom of expressions is barred, the journalist community needs to reconnect the fabric of society shattered by conflict, minimize the ferocity of violence by means of providing conflict prevention, early warning of new conflict potential and action, familiarizing the provisions of peace accords, securing justice to the victims, enforcing the accountability of human rights violators, keeping the citizens in a constant state of alertness, protecting media persons working in conflict zones, promoting the freedom of expression, achieving gender equity in news and broadening the base of coalition of media associations at Local, National and International levels. Conflict-sensitive media rooted in the principles of human rights, social joustice and peace can increase the possibility of non-violent communication, build confidence between the conflict actors and provide common ground for conflict transformation.
  • Tribal journalists have had limited access to official information and are not allowed to monitor development schemes and spending of development funds. according to a senior Journalists, reporting from tribal areas was one-sided as the administration would allow only those stories for publication in newspapers which were full of praise for them.
  • The Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ)

  • It was in keeping with these problems and short-comings that a handful of Tribal Journalists formed the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) on 15th June 1987, in Parachinar sub-division of Kurram Agency. The membership of the Union is now over 230. Unfortunately however, the situation for these journalists has not changed much as the activities of the Union were seen with suspicion. while TUJ tried to expose the corrupt practices of the tribal administration and their hand-picked coterie of Maliks, it was seen as a threat by the ruling elite of FATA. The TUJ also moulded Public opinion against corrupt officials and the out-dated system of governance by writing articles in national dailies.
  • TUJ is the only body in FATA that has struggled for the protection of the Journalists in an area where Press Laws do not exist. TUJ always resisted the high handedness of the Political administration with public protests and publishing specific stories and articles in national media.
  • TUJ has also contributed in the overall socio-political awareness for the Tribal society by arranging walks, seminars and discussions on various social, developmental and administrative issues and outdated traditions of the tribal areas. TUJ has remained instrumental in mobilizing the public regarding reforms in the FCR 1901 and in collaboration with TUJ and other civil society organizations,TUJ is also working on strengthening peace initiatives in the tribal communities of FATA.