Media and Responsibility
The media holds power beyond compare--it is transcendent, accessible through various mediums, where it has the power to bring awareness, to shape public opinion, to advocate and to hold people and/or institutions accountable for their actions. When NGOs work alongside journalists there is room to empower and protect vulnerable groups--in particular refugees, migrants, and women. Media is critical when it comes to perception of all issues but especially justice issues, therefore it is important for them to maintain their integrity, neutrality, and to maintain the dignity and humanity of the human beings in their stories. It is important, that when a journalist’s case study becomes a narrative that the language is carefully thought out, that it maintains respect and reality.
At a a mentoring session hosted by ARDD-Legal Aid in the prism of the “Future of Our Journalism” project, journalist Rania Sarairah of Al Ghad newspaper refeclted on her experience in journalism where she talked about how journalists should ideally perform. Sariarah explained that there are two ways in which journalism can be done; the first is through producing efforts and holding very tight to the ethics of the profession and avoid doing others harm, in order to earn their respect and protect your integrity as a journalist. The other way is to become a tool in the hands of those who pay, and write news that are harmful, deceptive and inaccurate, merely for personal interests and financial gain.
“Journalists must always investigate their news and acquire clear evidence to back up their case and guard themselves against legal issues. Don’t work in journalism only for money, and don’t let yourself be a tool” said Sarairah in conclusion to her talk.
Sarairah’s point is a very important one when it comes to integrity in journalism because according to the UNESCO office in Amman many journalists engage in self-censorship due to employment affiliations, biases and other consequences; which can lead to the skewing of information or the publicising of untruths.
Furthermore it is essential for young people and women to be involved in journalism, to bring about strong generations of journalists full of integrity and ethics. There are social barriers and a lack of opportunities for youth and women to participate in the world of journalism, in which ARDD-Legal Aid is addressing through the project “Future of our Journalism.” The importance of youth in journalism is immense due to the rise of social media. According to Mr. Kuttab, a speaker at another segment of ARDD-Legal Aid’s project, “The Future of our Journalism” held that social media platforms offer a golden opportunity to this generation, stressing that whoever makes news using any media platform should adhere the ethics of journalism: integrity, neutrality, and differing point of views, as he commented saying “[in media] survival is for the fittest.”
The media can foster dialogue and exchange of ideas within the community, it has much power and it is the place of those journalists to maintain their integrity and to know their readers.