Credibility of embedded journalists questioned

ABU DHABI — The first pan-Arab Broadcast Forum (ABF) commenced yesterday in the capital with regional and international media and political leaders engaging in a debate about credibility of ‘embedded’ journalists and possibilities of ensuring protection of reporters in hot spots, particularly the war-ravaged Iraq.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 5 Jun 2006, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:20 PM

Co-hosted by Al Arabiya News Channel and Abu Dhabi TV, the two-day forum, is being held at Emirates Palace and aired live on two TV channels. Prominent media figures from Al Hurra TV, BBC, Reuters and Associated Press joined the debate titled: ‘Embedded in danger - Iraq war coverage’.

“Working in difficult zones where military operations are going on requires that journalists should be equipped with extra skills like ‘security sense’, which is very important for reporters working in hot spots,” said Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Foreign Minister.

He opined that different media corporations should cooperate to gather information, noting that rivalry between media institutions to report news items in advance of competitors, minimises chances to have good coverage. On means of protecting journalists in Iraq, he said the Iraqi government realises the importance of protecting journalists and providing them with easy access to information.

However, he said, existence of terrorism in Iraq which primarily targets journalists should not be ignored. “We should carefully diagnose the problem. Freedom of media is available in Iraq,” added Zebari.

Khalid Al Ramahi, senior producer, said embedded journalism has no credibility because such reporters usually become part of a certain ideology, annulling the main role of journalists in conveying the truth. He said journalists should have political awareness, an identity that is separate from others and report what they see and what is true.

Dr Saad Al Bazzaz, Chairman, Al Sharqiya TV, opined that journalists in Iraq are scared to report news and are embezzled to become intelligence agents in order to get information. The dramatic changes in technology and how they affect delivery of news, Arab broadcasters and hard core urban issues, were debated at length during the first session of the forum.

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