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The crisis of professional responsibility in Iraqi journalism: avoiding incitement to violence and armed conflict

31-12-2007 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 868, by Ahmad Abdel Majid

The article promotes that the current journalistic challenges in Iraq necessitates a commitment by journalists to their professional responsibility. A code of principles could avoid the dangers of sliding into the implications that result from armed sectarian conflicts and could help journalists assist the victims and promote a spirit of tolerance and reconciliation in Iraq.

   

Ahmad Abdel Majid
is Professor of Journalism at the Faculty of Information, Baghdad   University, and editor-in-chief of the Iraqi edition of the international newspaper Al-Zaman. 

 
Abstract 
This article proposes that the current journalistic challenges in Iraq necessitate, inter alia, a commitment by journalists to their professional responsibility, since this will guarantee the avoidance of the danger of sliding into the implications that usually result from armed sectarian conflicts. This responsibility should be exercised to assist the victims and promote a spirit of tolerance and reconciliation through the principles of professional ethics based on balance, equity, accuracy and objectivity. It might not be possible to achieve this without a code, agreed upon by all, which persons working in the journalistic profession would apply in a manner consistent with the   fundamental principles of professional journalism, which require emotional detachment when formulating the content of news reports. The author proposes a preliminary theory or vision that could be modified or discussed in order to achieve this purpose in a country that is suffering, and will continue to suffer, from merciless bloodshed.

   
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