How do you rate the quality of English-language journalism in the GCC?
The results are in.
July 19, 2009 8:55 by Dana El Baltaji
The media industry in this region has been criticized for failing to cover important, though sensitive stories. Journalists abroad and readers worldwide have accused the English-language media in the GCC of being government mouthpieces for their host countries.
Readers and journalists in the region, however, are acutely aware of imposed media blackouts, when journalists are warned against reporting on specific stories that hit the region, in spite of widespread coverage of the same stories aboard.
Journalists throughout the GCC are threatened with fines, prison terms and deportation if they report on sensitive issues. Unfortunately, those threats have garnered a culture of self-censorship; journalists would rather toe-the-line than risk having their lives ruined.
Given the limitations, how does one rate the quality of journalism in the region? Should readers factor in government control over content and coverage when rating the industry, or is it irrelevant?
Furthermore, are journalists in the GCC failing to find innovative ways to report on sensitive subjects without getting into trouble? In short, are English-language reporters making excuses for their lack of journalistic skills by blaming the government for their scanty stories?
We don’t know the answers to those questions. What we do know, however, is that a majority of our readers are unhappy with journalism in the region.
According to our poll, 39 percent of Kipp’s readers believe the quality of English-language journalism in the GCC is “terrible.” They claim that “you can’t believe anything you read.” Meanwhile, another 39 percent of our voters said the quality of journalism is “not bad, but it needs a lot of work.”
But not everyone feels let down by the media; 17 percent of Kipp’s readers say they’re doing a “good job.”
And finally, 5 percent of our voters claim they’re illiterate. We can recommend a private tutor if you need one; provided you read this article.