Meeting examines role of
 media in Arab societies

ABU DHABI - Arab and Western journalists, academics and experts gathered at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, addressing the role of the media in Arab societies.

By (Wam)

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2011, 1:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:34 AM

The conference, organised by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German think tank, and the College of Communication and Media Services of Zayed University aimed at exploring the reciprocal relationship between societal changes and the media.

In his keynote address, Dr Johannes Beermann, Media Minister of the German Federal State of Saxony, elaborated on the universal duties of journalists worldwide, no matter which cultural background they work in, to provide information that allows people to understand current events in politics, economy and culture, and enable them to orient themselves.

In the first panel “Western and Arab News Media: A comparative approach” panelists included Dr Jan Keulen from the Centre for Media Freedom in Doha, Dr Abbas Sadig and Dr Rainer Herrmann from the German daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“There is no Arab or Western journalism,” Keulen said. “There is only good and bad journalism.”

During the discussions on the recent coverage of developments in the Arab world, Michael Peel from the Financial Times explained just how difficult it was to get access to reliable information, particularly where governments stop journalists travelling to countries or try to control their movements while they are there.

He added that relying on the social media as an information source is not possible.

Bill Spindle, Middle East Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswire agreed.

“There are many false leads by people who use social media,” he said. “Hence, there is still a strong need for professional journalists to be on the ground and report directly from the hotspots.”

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