ASBU organizes workshop on citizen journalism

By Khaled Jabbar HAMMAMET-Tunisia, May 4 (KUNA) — Arab media celebs highlighted the increasing importance of the concept of citizen journalism – an activist form of newsgathering and reporting that functions outside mainstream media institutions.
Speakers at a workshop on “citizen journalism and users’ contents” discussed the strategies for manipulating this kind of journalism as well as the relating regulatory, ethical and professional aspects.
The workshop is organized by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Tunis-based Union.
Speaking to KUNA, chairperson of the ASBU Television Permanent Committee Nabiha Bint Saleh said the Union chose this theme because of the active role played by this form of journalism in the recent years.
“Citizen journalism is now dominating a considerable space of the media sphere in the Arab world and became one of the main sources of news due to the great advances it has made,” she said.
“The debates at the workshop including the strategies for manipulating citizen journalism at the news studios of the satellite TV channels such as France 24 channel which started relying on this form of media ten years ago,” Bint Saleh pointed out.
However, she cautioned against overreliance of citizen journalism as a credible means of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.
“Unlike professional media people, citizen journalists have no standards, code of conduct or code of practice to refer to which covering or analyzing events or disseminating news and views,” she explained.
Bint Saleh added that the discussions dealt also with the ethical aspects of this form of journalism with a view to developing useful recommendations for Arab media outlets.
On his part, Jamal Bal-Ayyash, anchor of France 24 ‘moraqiboun’ (observers) program, said his program is pioneering one in collecting news contents from ordinary people and eyewitnesses and disseminating them after making sure of their authenticity.
Bal-Ayyash warned that the spread of social networking websites gave vent to harmful practices, including the circulation of banned contents or fabricated videos.
He advised the professional TV channels to meticulously verify the authenticity and credibility of the content they obtain from citizen journalists before airing them.
The 17th ASBU session will come to a close on Thursday with a ceremony for naming the winners of the program and news awards. (end)

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