When we go far from our problemsDiverted vision [Archives:2003/643/Opinion]

June 19 2003

Yasser al-Mayasi
[email protected]

Most of independent newspapers have in the past weeks and days were busy tackling and dealing with marginal issues far from the genuine message of journalism. They ignored touching on and casting light on significant questions and issues directly and mainly in touch with woes and sufferings of journalists.
For instance, those papers devoted much time and effort to engage in certain commercial issues as they devoted pages full of articles responding to an accusation came in an article against a well-known trading group.
We are not against newspapers' tackling of commercial issues by criticizing or defending this company or that. But the question is that it should not get all attention of the press at the expense of the people issues and the journalists concerns in particular.
I hereby want to cite some of the concerns and issues faced journalists in the past two weeks. Most of the journalists have recently received threats of killing on phone by unidentified persons. Some security authorities have said a person arrested as he was caught practicing threats against press and journalists. The strange thing is that the incident passed without being taken much care of by journalists and newspapers even as a news item.
It was supposed as journalists who work under difficult circumstances and a reality that sees journalism as just a profession of futile and empty word industry; it was supposed that we cast light on those threats directly concerning our life and job. We should have asked the security organization about the source of those threats and results of investigations.
Another issue the journalists have neglected to mention during the past days is that a number of journalists had stood in law courts for questioning and some were sent to prison. A journalist criticized conditions in a prison and nowadays he is an intern in that very prison.
Journalists should have asked about him and displayed his case in press, put his case before the journalists syndicate to work for his release, but nothing of that has happened. As journalists we have neglected the fair judgment issued by a court in the capital acquitting a number of journalists from charges put against them by the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum. That court ruling should have been given respect and appreciation and gratitude towards the judge who stood by the freedom of the press and expression. We should have written on that in details and many times to encourage other courts to follow suit on the way of establishing a just judiciary implementing law and justice.
As journalists we have to reconsider our attitudes, pay much attention to our profession issues and after that we can ask others to respect us and support us. We should not distance ourselves from the issues and concerns the press is there for.