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Suspicious minds, Part II

Suspicious minds, Part II

Contrary to what you might think, investigative journalism is alive and snooping in the Middle East, says Communicate magazine, Part II.

October 6, 2009 9:53 by

Click here to read Part I.

Lie society. Rana Sabbagh Gargour, former chief editor of The Jordan Times, is now an independent journalist and the founder of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), a regional network that supports independent journalism. She says that the challenges from society are actually now more restrictive than any lack of governmental transparency.

“People have given up on political corruption,” she says. “They are more worried about daily living standards, jobs, and education. With stories about sexual abuse, for example, people attacked us saying that we were creating stories, that theirs is a clean and religious society and those things could not happen.”

It’s a situation Fisk can well understand. He says problems like this are universal.

“Unfortunately, [journalists] have become a kind of trumpet, or an echo chamber for government spokesmen, in which we don’t actually channel their statements through our own critical faculties,” he says. “We don’t actually investigate, we don’t ask the question, ‘Why?'”

Al Jazeera is one outlet that Fisk clearly believes is asking why. He credits the 13-year-old network with transforming coverage of the Middle East. He recalls a quote from Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who upon visiting the Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha, said, “You mean this little matchbox is causing all of my problems?”

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