Citizen Journalism is Coup d'état by Citizens against Traditional Journalism, Says Expert at Arab Media Forum 2010

Published May 12th, 2010 - 11:34 GMT

Citizen journalism is coup d’état by the citizens against traditional journalism with the community taking on a more proactive role in collating and disseminating news and information through new digital media, according to Ali Al Karni, Director, Al Jazirah Newspaper Chair for International Journalism, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.

 

Al Karni’s comments came during a workshop on ‘Citizen Journalism: Challenging the Unnamed Source’, held during Arab Media Forum 2010 that opened on 12 May at The Atlantis-Palm in Dubai.

 

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the event themed ‘Shifting Mediascape: Inspiring Content…Expanding Reach’ has gathered more than 2,000 media personalities and specialists from Arab countries and across the world. Over 70 speakers are debating and discussing key industry topics that impact today’s media world.

 

Moderated by Sherif Amer, Anchor of ‘Al Hayat Al Youm’, Al Hayat Channel, the workshop focused on the role of citizen journalism and the opportunities it can provide to traditional digital media in the light of the changing media landscape.

 

Ahmed Ashour, General Manager of Al Jazeera Talk website; Mohammed Al-Kayali, blogger, Syria and Anwar Al-Hawari, Editor-in-Chief, Al Ahram Al Iqtisadi, were among the speakers who featured in the session.

 

Speaking at the session Al Karni said that citizen journalism including bloggers and social media constitute the fifth estate just as traditional journalism constitutes the fourth. He added citizen journalism looks at events from a new perspective and the concept of power has shifted with the receiver also becoming a contributor.

 

Ahmed Ashour, General Manager of Al Jazeera Talk website, said citizen journalism has become an important source of back up information for media organizations as there are times when certain places are inaccessible to journalists that can be reached only by the common man. It has also instilled the idea among the Arab youth that they can be an agent for change. Pointing out that is the underlining objective for Al Jazeera Talk website, he shared how the channel was surprised by the overwhelming success of the portal.

 

According to Anwar Al-Hawari, Editor-in-Chief, Al Ahram Al Iqtisadi, traditional journalism as it is termed retains its place as a specialized field based on ethics and responsible means of reporting about global issues. He said: ”Whenever there is new technology, it enables people to use new means of communication and the relationship of citizen journalism is complementary to traditional journalism.”

 

Mainstream media has also been forced to come to terms with what is known as mobile phone journalism or digital social media, without any real comprehension about the extent of its authenticity. Additionally, with the increasing number of blogs that are widely accessible, blogging has begun to engage different sectors of the society and different web portals.

 

Mohammed Al-Kayali, blogger, Syria, said the term ‘blogger’ that has been synonymous with ‘writer’ has changed considerably and the blogger has now become a source of reference with the elements of social media reflected in the mainstream news.

 

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the winners of the third edition of the Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Youth Media Awards will receive their prizes at a gala ceremony on the first day of the forum.

 

The Arab Media Forum 2010 will conclude on 13 May with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid honouring the winners of Arab Journalism Awards, the region’s most coveted honours for journalistic excellence.

 

Latest updates on the workshops and speakers at the Arab Media Forum 2010 are available at www.arabmediaforum.ae.


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