MEDIA plays a very important role in nation-building and influencing public opinion. It enlightens the people and is also a tool used by governments and several organisations to bring about social change. Until the advent of Internet and subsequent mushrooming of various platforms, people solely depended on conventional media for information.
At a recent conference in Oxford, where the interaction between Internet and news industry was discussed, BBC Global News Division Director Richard Sambrook made it explicitly clear that the information we get on social media platforms isn’t simply journalism. He said journalism needed discipline and with it came judgement, analysis and explanation.
Judgement is very important for a journalist and it has to be made in the right context. We’ve to admit that Internet and new media have already heralded a revolution in many countries, in some cases posing a big threat to their social and cultural integrity. That’s why I strongly feel more and more nationals should come into journalism and discharge their responsibility towards the people of this country, by giving them information that’s true and reliable.
I look back with a sense of pride and achievement at my 11 years’ tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Doha Stadium Plus but, frankly speaking, I’m quite disappointed that we couldn’t identify or train even one Qatari youngster in the field of English journalism. Some top educational institutions in the country are offering courses in journalism and mass communication but, unfortunately, it remains a lowly-paid profession compared to many others. Obviously, these graduates opt for more lucrative jobs in other sectors.
It’s here that the government and newspaper organisations in our country will’ve to take initiatives to support them, not only through internships and training, but also by offering attractive remuneration. Journalism graduates from universities should be taken on board by various newspapers, sent to cover big events and, if needed, given language training.
A majority of journalists in Qatar, both Arabic and English, are expatriates and one can’t expect them to champion certain causes beyond a limit. It’s here that the nationals have a big role to play and make it more professional. I hope more and more Qataris will come into media profession in future.