By Anthony Novaro-Boni
Anthony Novaro-Boni represented the MRIS course at the Development Day 2016 as a rapporteur. Here’s his personal reflection on the session on Media and Development – “Breaking the Bubbles”.
In my opinion, one of the most important ideas to highlight from the development day is the lack of professionalism from some journalists. It seems that nowadays, profit and popularity are more important than truthfulness, sincerity or involvement in real problems. Most of the time, they take what they find, without any sources or maybe one or two, and publish it. They do not try to deeply understand, to think about what will happen on people’s minds with these ideas or which “phenomenon” it will create. Then, if the news are wrong, they will remove it or apologize. It shouldn’t work like that.
As an example of this immaturity of journalists and media, during the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, a TV channel was following the Special Forces for the operations. While terrorists were in the Bataclan (theatre and concert place), some people were hiding themselves and chatting with the Special Forces. The TV channel was telling where these people were in the building and how the army would enter inside (their strategy). The terrorists could watch the news. It shows how they didn’t care about people’s lives, they only tried to increase their audience…
Another issue of this lack of professionalism can be about people ideas and minds. If a popular media publish or say something, most of the people used to follow it will believe it and appropriate it as liable, even if it is wrong. We got a real example from Cologne (Germany): during the New Year’s Eve, hundreds of girls were sexually abused and media said that all the aggressors were refugees. After investigations, the Police admitted that on the 58 offenders, 55 were note refugees. This is an additional proof that media can be leaded by pre-edited ideas (as we know, all media are ruled by specific ideas: religion, politics, capitalist…).
Moreover, with the increase of social networks (Facebook, Twitter), the flows of media can be really high and fast. As a journalist said during the debate, she chooses some news but cannot verify all the sources and make sure that it is right. For me, if a journalist is not sure about something, he shouldn’t publish it. The mission of journalism is to give us processed news, not to copy and paste.
Then, one thing about this idea of lack can be the knowledge expressed by the journalists. Each one should be supposed to know everything or almost everything if the field that he is working for. However, when you hear some journalists talking about politics of legal affairs, they are only remaining what we already know or contrariwise, they use many specific expressions that the major part of people will not understand.
In my mind, journalism is not completely affected by these issues but it is increasing. As students from university, we learn how to be objective, how to think by our own and try to disentangle fact from fiction, to do not make hasty conclusions. Knowledge and professionalism are the best weapons against mistakes.