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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

Youthful enthusiasm. Fisk says Lebanon (where he has been based for more than 30 years) is the only country in the Middle East making great strides in the advancement of investigative journalism, especially after the Syrian forces retreated from the country.

“I suppose this is a cliché, but one can always tell a country by its youth,” he says. “Since the end of the civil war, there’s been this great infusion of young people, who were sent away to the West by their parents, probably for safety reasons, who returned to Lebanon with this belief in secularism and having a free society. They could breathe, they could say what they wanted, they could write what they wanted, and read anything that they wanted.”

So, while the overall state of investigative journalism in the Middle East still appears grim, there are beacons of hope as well. Fouda says that, in addition to the changes in Lebanon, editors elsewhere in the region are much more aware of the need to invest in this line of journalism, and there is a new generation of young journalists who are passionate about it too.

Even audiences, now that they have been exposed to investigative journalism, would miss it if it were no longer here. Once upon a time they wouldn’t have even known about it. “That propels me to think that the situation now is much better,” he says confidently.

His hopes are tinged with realism, though. “It’s by no means perfect,” he concludes. “And we have a very long way to go to begin really establishing Arab investigative journalism.”

First seen in Communicate magazine.

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