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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 21/05/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The panel felt news coverage has boiled down to who funds which organisation and the political leanings of that organisation.

is the media a mirror of society or is society a mirror of the media? the chicken-and-egg conundrum was at the heart of the debate at the 13th arab media forum at a session called ‘media reality following the arab autumn’.

ayesha sultan a columnist with al ittihad newspaper said “the media is a reflection of society of the communities we live in. but that doesn’t mean the media is better today.”

george semaan a lebanon-based political writer said the arab media has sometimes led to divisions: “the chaos in the arab media is a reflection of what’s happening in real life.”

dr abdullah al-shayji head of kuwait university’s political science department lamented the lack of objectivity in today’s media as well as lack of editorial leadership and decisiveness. today he said the viewer wants not objective news but news and opinions that are in line with his opinions.
mamoun fandy director london global strategy institute said there is a gap between what’s happening and what is being reported through satellite tv.

“we have a crippled state covering the news story” he said. “we use gossip sometimes to cover news which goes against islamic principles.”

fandy said covering the news has become more a matter of “hiding rather than conveying information”.

the panel felt news coverage has boiled down to who funds which organisation and the political leanings of that organisation.

media houses’ diminishing objectivity and questionable motives were hotly debated with half of the panel citing financing as the core of the problem. a broadcast media channel shared a statistic that 92 per cent people in the region believe the arab media is not to be trusted and 75 per cent get information from tv even though they don’t trust the source.

but a member of the audience rejected the statistic and the poll as “completely untrue and biased and conducted only among a small sample size”. while defending the intelligence and discernment of arabs who read the news the dissenter received a loud round of applause from fellow members of the audience.

many in the audience including journalists questioned the panel on their take on professional ethics and integrity of reporting.

it was felt that “danger lies when media affects political agendas” when corporations and political parties gain control over the finances and therefore control of media houses.

the session concluded with a loud round of applause as it set people thinking and talking about professionalism ethics accuracy and objectivity in the media triggering many offshoot conversations outside the venue on the intricacies of media coverage.



Khaleej Times

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