Journalists or activists? In Egypt today, it's hard to define

By Philip Lee on March 21, 2013
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As World Press Freedom Day approaches on May 3, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that in Egypt, journalists become activists in a climate of government intimidation.

WACC has marked World Press Freedom Day for several years. Last year, WACC President Dr. Dennis Smith and General Secretary the Rev. Karin Achtelstetter invited members and partners to work towards an international code of ethics for citizen journalism.

"We urge media practitioners – professional and citizen journalists – collectively to find common ground in efforts to agree on professional standards and codes to guide the practice of journalism. An international code of ethics for citizen journalism would provide a much needed framework for new voices working to transform societies," they wrote.

According to a story on CPJ's website, "Egyptian journalists, besieged by punitive lawsuits and under threat, agree that under President Mohamed Morsi 'there is no press freedom, only the courage of journalists,' as editor Ibrahim Eissa put it."

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon writes that during a CPJ mission to Cairo, he asked Egyptian journalists "to define the difference between journalism and activism in a climate in which objectivity is impossible. Most said it was a useless exercise." The full story may be found on CPJ's website here.

World Press Freedom Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1993.

WACC's "Pathways to digital frontiers: Communication rights and inclusion" programme aims to strengthen the work of civil society organizations at the national level in the use of citizen journalism to advance the democratic participation and active citizenship of marginalized peoples and communities.

Under the programme, WACC will from time to time be seeking projects in countries of the Global South that build on citizen journalism using digital media platforms to advance inclusive information and knowledge societies that reflect the realities facing marginalized people.

In addition to the possibility of financial support, WACC will provide materials and networking in the areas of ethics and Internet rights within the larger framework of communication.


March 21, 2013
Categories:  Features

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