Agadir - You have probably read or heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, well, that might be true but it often takes more than one single lifetime or more than a generation of people to witness that come true. Wise visions and inspiring ideas often take time to blossom in more than one head, given the fact that all people are not rational and therefore some are hard to convince or else are resistant to change and would rather feel safe in their “tenure status” and hence dearly stick to a status quo.
Agadir – You have probably read or heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, well, that might be true but it often takes more than one single lifetime or more than a generation of people to witness that come true. Wise visions and inspiring ideas often take time to blossom in more than one head, given the fact that all people are not rational and therefore some are hard to convince or else are resistant to change and would rather feel safe in their “tenure status” and hence dearly stick to a status quo.
Time and changing events may end up rallying the hard-to convince irrational individuals along with the resistant to change for a reason or other. In the field of the press a number of constraints govern the field whether anyone likes it or not, hence the term straightjacket you will come across in this article. A straightjacket is one with long sleeves that was used in the old days to subdue or immobilize potential violent mentally sick people by attaching the jacket’s long sleeves behind the sick individuals’ backs before rushing them to mental homes.
Worldwide, the press enjoys a reasonable margin of freedom or else is put into a straightjacket and thus made to operate through great constraints and or intimidation.
Most respected press bodies or outlets successfully operate through imposing self-censorship to their authors, journalists, analysts or reporters. Before submitting an article, analysis or a report for publication, the journalist, analyst, or reporter has to make sure that what he is contributing or putting forward is sound enough for publication starting from the appropriacy of the language used to the validity of the content by making sure it is not biased nor distorted and that it does not do any kind of wrong to any individual, group, organization, country, race or religion.
Writers, journalists, or reporters for that matter, need to learn how to walk through rain drops without getting wet all the while unless what they are writing or reporting about are facts that do not support any kind of interpretation or sided analysis then they could for a while escape the straightjacket confinement and say or report things as they are or as they unfold before their eyes.
Objective, ethical and well balanced are adjectives that unfortunately are not always observed or respected as there are types of journalism that rely on the weird, the funny or the sensational or else are fueled by destructive types of propaganda.
Yellow journalism attracts great numbers of readers from a certain educational level or background in all countries of the world. The gossip columns in the US, were equally attractive to minds that were readily avid to discuss people’s lives or misfortunes.
There are, however, other beneficial types of elevated journalism that seek to instruct, inform, guide and help readers. Economy oriented journalism is one such type, it provides the reader with updates in the field of economy be it on a global scale or on an individual scale such as informing people about the exchange rates of currencies or the price of gasoline for their daily commutes.
Another type of instructional and guiding type of journalism is the one specializing in health and health matters. Readers are constantly brought closer to things that can optimize their health condition or else draw their attention to things they need to distance themselves from as in dieting and diet related advice. On a global scale people may learn about the break of an epidemic somewhere they may be travelling to and therefore need to do the necessary either take appropriate health measures before leaving to that country or region or else cancel the trip altogether.
In all these instances, health, economy, sports and weather maybe to a certain extent education the topics tackled are in general safe topics and therefore do not pose much of a problem. Thorny problems prop up as soon as you consider politics at large. What a person says or writes depends very much on his affiliation, school of thought, political party, country, ideology among other factors. This may pretty much result in controversies, heated debates, intellectual challenges but it may at times spill over to assaults, insults and violent behavior as is witnessed oftentimes on some TV Channels (Middle eastern).
Imposing a straightjacket to the press is no sound solution but implementing and enforcing internationally recognized standards of ethics and professionalism are a must to break away from “cheap” press that can be easily bought or manipulated to a self-respecting, self-censoring, objective and well balanced type of journalism. When this stage is reached in the Arab world the pen could really be mightier that the sword in this part of the world.
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