A society changed by journalists: Seriousness is the key

Ashraf delivering his speech at the WJC2022

Ashraf delivering his speech at the WJC2022 (Picture by Seok-Jae Kang)

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid

Text of the speech delivered by Ashraf Aboul-Yazid at the World Journalists Conference (WJC 2022)

As a boy, I started my career as a dreaming journalist.  I only had in mind the image of that young journalist (Tin Tin) in his adventures; traveling, writing, photographing, chasing the bad guys, revealing the truth, using science, putting his hands in the hands of good societal institutions, and exposing corruption.

This ideal image of a journalist with multiple talents, means, and goals is the goal that all of us – the community of world journalists around the globe – strive for, and it is the image that we seek to succeed for the sake of a better society.

In this short paper – due to the available time to speak – I will note down the types of journalists needed in the mission of change.

These descriptions represent the product of my experience that exceeds three decades in print, visual and electronic journalism, as well as a summary of extensive readings and intensive follow-ups.

1.    A good journalist is a person of justice; a voice of truth and a hand of society. This will be approved by speech and writing.

2.    A good journalist should be aware of both traditional and modern types of communications. Society might only accept any of them.

3.    A good journalist should go beyond reporting numbers, figures and diagrams. Society would better understand the meanings of those abstract digits.

4.    A good journalist is a good researcher; he should be seeking a change for better solutions of the society’s problems. This needs a better knowledge acquired by intensive reading and continuous research.

5.    A good journalist is oriented to be an open-minded person. To respect other opinions, without accepting wrong practices.

6.    A good journalist must assist and get help, as well, from science. He/ She will not spread false facts or misguided opinions against science.

7.    A good journalist is a good example of trust, honesty, and care. If sources trust you they will certainly lead you to truth. An honest journalist is dependable. And a caring journalist will feel the pulsing power of people.

In the last decade, peoples in the Middle East sought for change, they wanted democracy, freedom and social justice, but they did not get any of that.

The same regimes with different faces were re-elected with their corruption and dictatorship. Whoever did not have this option was destroyed, and civil wars erupted, infrastructures were demolished, and millions were displaced outside their homelands.

Unfortunately, the role of the targeted media has been, and still is, the cause of the misery of the peoples of these countries. I do not think that the misery of these nations is but a result of the misery of their media, with its subordination, and its failure to fulfill the role assigned to it.

I am concluding by asking you, and myself: What is the solution?

The answer is simple; we need to be more serious. I am not against entertainment journalism, but I don’t encourage “Titainment” or distraction journalism. Climate change’s issues are no longer a concern only rich or developed countries, but they’re literally everyone’s interest.

These issues are essential part of our daily life, which is completely subject to climate issue; in health, education and economy. So it is important for everyone to engage in caring about and working to protect the Earth’s climate. The role of a good journalist is to include this issue in his/her written literature, in a scientific manner, understandable to all.

Seriousness is the key to raise awareness of climate change, among other issues not taken seriously enough by the press. It is the core topic for all of us, not to neglect or underestimate; we could frankly add racism, bullying, warming, and other vital issues.

A good journalist makes a difference, doing something serious and important to change people’s lives for the better, and lead social change to create a chain reaction, and empower people by educating them.

Search in Site