Arab Media Expert: ‘There Are No Journalists in the Arab World’

From MEMRI:

Columnist and expert on the Arab media Dr. Mamoun Fandy wrote a critique of the Arab press in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, stating that it does not provide a platform for the diverse views in the Arab world. The following are excerpts from his article from Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 5, 2004:

‘The Lack of [Arab] Journalists is Embarrassingly Obvious’

“‘There are no journalists in the Arab world,’ the editor of one of the Arabic papers said to me when I asked him why [his paper] was not covering a particular journalistic story. I heard the exact same complaint from one publisher who said, ‘We have authors, but no journalists.’

“[Judging by] the Arab media coverage of events such as the trial of Saddam and the situation in Iraq in general, this lack of [Arab] journalists is embarrassingly obvious. We know little about Saddam, who ruled Iraq for over 30 years, except for a single hackneyed story about a doorman or greengrocer in Egypt, where Saddam lived in his youth. If only this story was true! This greengrocer has already changed his story more than once.

“It would be interesting to know, for example, about the life of a woman whose husband and children were murdered by Saddam. [It would be interesting to know] how exiled Iraqis moved from place to place and country to country, and whether their children speak Arabic. [It would also be interesting to know] how the French or German-speaking [raised in exile] children will adapt to the Arabic language in the new Iraq. What is their attitude towards the Arab resistance fighters and Al-Zarqawi’s cronies? Do they prefer to maintain relations with the neighboring Arab [countries] or with Europe? These are all people with names and with opinions on these matters.

“Thousands of stories should be written on the lives of Iraqis – but where are the journalists?! Is it the lack of professional journalists that [makes] these journalistic stories remain unknown?”

Click here for MEMRI’s translation of the article: Arab Media Expert: ‘There Are No Journalists in the Arab World’

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