Uks Consultations

May 2018
Funded by Uks Research Centre

Project – Dialogue for Change (DfC)

Participants – 50+

This was the first panel discussion in the series of DfC, featuring the team of the then recently concluded Hum TV drama serial “Dar Si Jati Hai Sila” which centered round the story of Sila who is sexually abused by a family member, Joee Mama. Dialogue for Change initiative aims to turn passive viewers and audiences into active and proactive ones, and to determine as to what extent news and entertainment content influences the viewers. Ms. Ahmar requested the panellists to talk about their experience of shooting the drama on a topic considered taboo in a Pakistani society. Bee Gul, writer of the play, shared that she was told that her writing was too bold for Pakistani society. She said her writings often addressed topics considered taboo, and many a times her projects almost got her killed! Yumna Zaidi (character Sila) said that a lot of girls reached out to her after the drama and that made her realise survivors found strength in Sila’s character. Saman Ansari (character Saadia) shared that people came up to her to express how much they could relate to script because it hit so close to home. Gul also shared that it was surprising for them that their drama got such high ratings. She said the ratings further broke the myth that audience do not like to watch dramas on sensitive topics and that was a big success.

July 2018

Funded by Uks Research Centre

Project – Dialogue for Change

Participants – 70+

Though in Pakistan we haven’t seen many women-centric movies with a clear-cut progressive narrative, there is, however one movie that needs not only to be recognized but also applauded; “Motorcycle Girl”. It is in this regard that Uks held a second panel discussion in the series ‘Dialogue for Change” with the cast and crew of this amazing movie. Director and writer, Adnan Sarwar, Sohai Ali Abro who played the lead role and senior actor Shamim Hilali were present. According to Sarwar, the project was a difficult one to sell to financers as most claimed that audiences would not be able to accept the absence of a male lead character, and the movie would not be a commercial success. Sohai lamented that scripts similar to Motorcycle Girl were not being written in the industry. She said “When I first read the script, I was surprised that a man had written it as it was very sensitively written and took into consideration very small details about the life of a woman”. Shamim Hilali recalled the good old days of Pakistani television which were not driven by the ratings game so gave some brilliant productions. The aim of Uks in holding such dialogues is to turn passive viewers and audiences into proactive ones, and ascertain the extent to which news and entertainment content can influence viewers, both male and female. Some very interesting comments came from the very engaged audience.


Funded by World Association for Christian Communication – WACC

Project – Gender Equality in Media; Beyond Awareness and Advocacy

Participants – 5

Uks held a series of on-desk consultations with executives of print and electronic media houses to sensitise media managers and share publications/toolkits and Uks’s Code of Ethics for voluntary adoption. The media houses include Islamabad offices of:
  • Daily Pakistan
  • Daily Jinnah
  • FM Radio Power 99
  • Radio Pakistan PBC
  • Duniya TV
  • PTV
  • Aaj TV

The team visited these media houses and briefed them about Uks’ project and tools which were designed to end news sexism. Talking about gender-just media content especially in news about politics, sports and violence, Uks’ team shared media clippings of content Funded by the media house which violated gender-sensitivity ethics. The team also questioned them on their policies for work place harassment, safe working environment for women and better workplace infrastructure e.g. separate washrooms etc. and equal salary and promotion policies for female employees. The representatives assured them that they would try their level best to provide women with better facilities but due to budget constraints and uncooperative staff members, circumstances in media houses are not ideal and require a lot of improvement.


Funded by Uks Research Centre

Project – Twenty years of Uks

Participants – 70+

Tasneem Ahmar, Executive Director, Uks Research Centre launched the publication ‘Uks Kahani’ and shared her story of 20 years of passion and commitment from the founding of Uks till its 20th Anniversary. The panel discussion on Feminizing News and Views in Pakistani was moderated by Farieha Aziz. Senior journalist Zubeida Mustafa said that there was a need for more female journalists. ‘Money makes the world go round. The owners always have an upper hand and they think in terms of commercialisation first because they are running businesses,’ she said. Kamal Siddiqui, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration shared that editors gave women reporters soft beats as they think they don`t have the means or attitude for hard news. Uzma Alkarim, Head of the Gender Sensitivity Committee at Geo TV, said she had known people who believed that women don`t step out of their homes to build careers, but only if they had financial needs to cater to. Film-maker and actor Meher Jafri said what society reflected was also filtered down in content. `Our plays and movies show tragedies with weak and victimised women,’ she said. ‘But this is also what the viewers like to watch so the sponsors also support such plays and movies.’


Funded by Uks Research Centre

Project – Twenty years of Uks

Participants – 100+

In the opening keynote address, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Sherry Rehman stated that journalism and democracy were very strongly connected. Women 30 years ago had fewer roles as models and mentors and had to claim their spaces. She added that 79 percent of women in media content are portrayed as victims even now and the situation is not satisfactory as according to press clubs, women make up only small percentage of the total number of journalists in Pakistan. The first was a panel discussion on `Feminizing News and Views in Pakistani Media`, which featured journalists from various media houses. Artist and activist Sheema Kermani began the second session with a discussion on art as activism. She noted that dance is often considered the lowest category of art in society. During the discussion, Dawn CEO Hameed Haroon said the Pakistan media was not a domain where women were employed before 1979. He spoke about how Dawn became an equal opportunity employer, giving preference to women that increased the number of women working there from one to 40 within a year. Former NCSW Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said women journalists had played a great role in womens’ rights movements, while renowned poet Kishwar Naheed spoke about the media scenario for women in the 50s and 60s, and the various trends of how women are portrayed in the print media. Ms Naheed also recited poems including Hum Gunahgaar Aurtain and Jootay bechti, mozay bechti aurat mera naam nahi`.

September 2017

Funded by Uks Research Centre

Project – Commemorating 70 years of Pakistan

Participants – 50+

Uks organised panel discussions in Islamabad and Karachi to commemorate the International Day of Democracy and 70 years of Pakistan. Speakers for the Islamabad panel discussion included Senator Sherry Rehman, Chairperson, National Commission on the Status of Women, Ms Khawar Mumtaz and Senior Anchorperson on Current Affairs Ms Asma Shirazi. Setting the stage for the panel discussion, a digital story “Women of Pakistan: the Past and Present” was screened [Watch Here]. Funded by Nabeela Aslam for Uks Research Centre, the digital story paid tribute to the resilient and courageous women who fought against feudal bureaucracy and military dictatorships. Leading movements and raising their voices against the violation of citizen’s rights these women fought parallel battles with misogyny and patriarchal mind-sets. The event in Karachi also began with the screening of the digital story followed by a panel discussion. Karachi panelists were human and women rights activist and journalist Ms. Hilda Saeed, Digital rights defender and journalist Ms. Fareiha Aziz and human rights lawyer Ms. Maleeha Zia Lari. Each one of them shared their own take on whether women of Pakistan had progressed or regressed in the last 70 years. It was interesting to listen to the personal and professional experiences of the panelists on the role and status of women in all these years. There was a lively Q&A session moderated by Ms. Tasneem Ahmar. Those present at the event included Zohra Yusf, Sheema Kirmani, Javed Jabbar, Ghazi Salahuddin, Rumana Husain, Afia Salam.

25th June, 2016

Funded by National Endowment for Democracy

Project – Gender Just Media Drive

Participants – 35

The aim was to address the lack of gender responsiveness in the media and the offences against women in their representation. The discussion encouraged media personnel to share suggestions for a balanced and inclusive coverage of men and women in the media. The event was well-attended by more than thirty participants representing the print, electronic and online media from Karachi, civil society and academic institutions. Uks launched its publication, at the event as well as reiterated the need for media to fully understand and voluntarily implement gender sensitive code of ethics in their organisations as well as shared the update on WMCC.

28th Aug, 2015

Funded by National Endowment for Democracy

Project – Gender Just Media Drive

Participants – 48

Uks convened a one-day roundtable conference to discuss how media organizations could better implement the Gender-sensitive Code of Ethics. The roundtable brought together thirty participants, including owners, executives, and management from the media and entertainment industries as well as representatives from advertising agencies, and civil society organizations. Uks encouraged them to follow and adopt the Gender-sensitive Code of Ethics for their respective media content. Uks also shared public feedback from the survey conducted earlier and results from a week’s media monitoring.

4th April 2013

Funded by DANIDA

Project – More Women in Media

Participants – 19

In 2005, Uks Research Centre finalised and presented the first ever Gender-Sensitive Code-of-Ethics for the Print Media in Pakistan. Though this code was a comprehensive document (and the only one) available to consult on gender-sensitive content, it lacked clauses/guidelines specific to television, radio and the Internet. This was one of the series of roundtable consultations held with media stakeholders for the revision of this code-of-ethics. The RT attempted to convey to the media managers that portraying gender in a fair and ethical manner would only occur when it became a concern for everyone in the newsroom and beyond. Journalists, photographers, news editors, camera persons, cartoonists, media employers, self-regulatory bodies, journalists’ schools, associations and unions should all understand that they had a role to play in ensuring that media should become an effective mirror of society.

June 14, 2013

Funded by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Pakistan

Project – Empowering Women in Politics through Media

Participants – Media, Civil Society and Women Parliamentarians

A one-day national conference was held in Islamabad in which women politicians and leaders were invited along with media personnel and members of Civil Society Organizations to engage in a discourse about media’s role in empowering women politicians. The conference identified gaps in the women-media relationship and helped in building linkages and developing partnerships between media and women politicians. The conference was also useful in initiating a dialogue with media on how to promote gender sensitive reporting on women and politics and elections to strengthen democracy.

Women politicians and leaders shared their experiences of the political arena and commented on media’s role in empowering women in politics.

“I have being involved in politics since childhood. When we do politics for our fathers and brothers it is a source of pride for them; but when we do it for ourselves it is a source of disgrace.” said Ms. Sumaira Khan, a political worker of Pakistan People’s Party.

November – December 2013

Funded by DANIDA

Project – More Women in Media

Participants – 160+

The on-desk consultations were carried out in various media houses across Pakistan. Below are the



  • Abb Tak
  • Daily Pakistan
  • Express Tribune
  • FM 100
  • Geo News
  • PBC


  • Aaj News
  • AVT Khyber
  • Express Tribune
  • Frontier Post
  • PBC Peshawar


  • Daily Azadi
  • Daily Mashriq
  • Daily Dawn
  • Baluchistan Times

1st December, 2012

Funded by DANIDA

Project – More Women in Media

Participants – 19

In 2005, Uks Research Centre finalised and presented the first ever Gender-Sensitive Code-of-Ethics for the Print Media in Pakistan. Though this code was a comprehensive document (and the only one) available to consult on gender-sensitive content, it lacked clauses/guidelines specific to television, radio and the Internet. Uks undertook the formulation and implementation of a gender-sensitive code-of-ethics for the media, inclusive of both print and electronic media, in Pakistan. This was one of the series of roundtable consultations held with media stakeholders for the revision of this code-of-ethics. The roundtable was an attempt to take up and debate how commercialisation, politicization, and lack of professionalism was damaging women’s portrayal and development and why it was absolutely necessary to revise and adopt ethical guidelines for gender-just media. A total of nineteen media personnel – media owners, editors, bureau chiefs, members of journalists’ unions, educationists and gender experts – both male and female, participated in this consultation.The issues that came under discussion include:
  • Gender sensitisation of media
  • Gender sensitive curriculum in media schools
  • Media ratings vs. responsible content
  • Advertisements
  • Popularity of soaps from other countries
  • Negative portrayal of women
  • Responsibility of hosts and presenters
  • Media practitioners hail from the same society and have same social mindsets
  • Media a socio-political reflection
  • Ethics – Media’s responsibility
  • Gender insensitive language and terminologies

December 2009

Funded by Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars -USA

Project – More Women in Mainstream Media

Participants – media managers and working journalists

The aim of roundtable was to discuss how women can be brought forward in mainstream media and the type of coverage required to be given to women for a positive portrayal was also discussed. Participants of the roundtable belonged to various areas of media industry. Recommendations addressing the issue of under representation and better portrayal of women in media were presented by participants. It was discussed how women could be better portrayed and represented through and in media. The need to increase awareness among journalists and readers/ audience and to build their capacity to understand and differentiate between balanced, gender-just reporting and biased and gender insensitive reporting was highlighted. Specifically the need for sensitization of male journalists was focused. Journalists and media managers must work to bridge the responsibility gap

14 March 2009

Media Managers and working journalists were invited to a roundtable to discuss if the main stream media can actually come-up with gender sensitive media content.


Funded by British High Commission

Project – Capacity Building of Journalists for Effective Dialogue and Positive

Coverage of Women Issues in Media

Participants – Radio Journalists and Civil Society

A national media conference was held for radio journalists for compilation of a best practices guide to enable radio journalists to effectively report and debate on women’s issues and to enable the media to understand the importance of reporting on human rights and recommendations on best practices. A baseline survey on monitoring of women and human rights programmes on Pakistan’s FM channels was shared with radio producers at this event.

2 April 2007

Funded by CIDA

Project – Training of Indigenous Media in Pakistan on HIV/AIDS reporting

Participants – Media practitioners, Civil Society

This project involved sensitizing and training the media on a gender-sensitive training of HIV/AIDS with special focus on bringing forth tabooed issues that are crucial for understanding HIV/AIDS from a Pakistani and then regional and global perspective.


Project – Formulation of a Gender-Sensitive Code of Ethics

Participants -Media Practioners

Uks was the first organization to suggest the voluntary adopted gender-sensitive code of ethics for media (Print). Uks formulated the code and added clauses with the input from media owners, editors, bureau chiefs, members of journalists’ unions, educationists and gender experts.
Funded by In-house

Project – Monitoring and Sensitizing the Print Media on Portrayal of Women

Participants – Print Media practitioners

The workshops were a forum to discuss the role of the print media in covering women’s issues. The workshops were attended by media persons including editors, bureau chiefs, reporters, desk persons, and staff and in Quetta, by students of the Mass Communication Department of Baluchistan University. The workshops results were compiled in the publication “Changing Images” Each workshop began with an introduction by Ms. Ahmar, Director Uks, and was followed by a discussion about the portrayal of women in the English and Urdu language presses. Participants then explored either the Urdu or the English medium press, in small groups. Issues pertaining to the national and regional press were also discussed. The debates and the discussions were based on the following questions:
    • How effectively has the print media been able to educate people and to elicit the attitudinal changes necessary to facilitate the process of development, especially of women?
    • How often does the press try to raise public awareness and generate debate on women’s issues and is this effort part of a deliberate policy
    • Has the press helped to create awareness among its readers that women’s rights are human rights?
    • What has been the role of the press in trying to eliminate discrimination against women?
    • Popularity of soaps from other countries

Five workshops were held in :

  • Karachi (May 8, 2002)
  • Quetta (June 11, 2001)
  • Peshawar (June 19, 2001)
  • Islamabad (10 September 2001)
  • Lahore, (June 25, 2001).