Aref Hijjawi (bald guy in the middle), who is a familiar name to those of us who listened to the BBC Arabic service in the last decade. He is now a program director at Al Jazeera.
Yesterday he was the dissenting voice at the Global Media Forum session entitled “Crisis prevention through media intervention”.
He said that the title of the conference in a “bit funny”. He said that media is about conflict and that life, in fact, is about conflict. “When there bullets flying in the streets of Beirut there is enthusiasm and energy in the corridors of Aljazeera,” he said. They see their role as having to be the first who would report a war or a conflict.
“Leave conflict resolution to the politician,” he added.
He said that the word ‘responsibility’ in the Arab world is used to shut everybody up. It is an abused word.
He said that Palestinians are still being ignored. The continuation of a fake peace process requires “quieting things down” in the name of responsibility.
The only limits that need to be respected, in Hijjawi’s opinion are religion, race and human rights. The medium of the book should perhaps be that one area that is left for total human freedom, as this is the area where the ‘Gallileo’ and philosophers can roam free. But that is not for the role of popular media, he added.
On the issue of blogging and citizen media, Hijjawi said that the normal person will never substitute the trained reporter. “This is just an illusion,” he said.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything Hijjawi said, but he certainly added much needed color to the session. He was the first one of the panelist to draw some applause from the audience.
I will try to present some more ideas from that session in another post, as it had some interesting contributions from the BBC, Radio France International, Radio Netherlands, the Voice of America and the Voice of Russia.
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- This region, its conflicts and its moral low points
- About 360east
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- The Maktoob-Yahoo deal: Shame on the Jordanian press that doesn’t understand!!
- A question for the Israeli blogosphere!!
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