Towards Responsibility and a Harmonious Relationship by Omar Al Bushra
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Jun 19, 2008 - 8:17:47 AM
Towards Responsibility and a Harmonious Relationship
All over the globe there is a vital link between the press and other institutions of the state and the community since the press has embraced as its mission the obligations of disseminating knowledge, fostering public causes, raising awareness and enriching social and cultural life.
Though this undertaking in no way prejudices the role of the press as a social critic that pinpoints shortcomings and failures in the community, papers still should abide by the requirement of taking in and releasing news only after ascertaining their official sources, particularly in the case of news stories related to such sensitive organs as the police or security authorities. The nature of these organs dictate upon papers to observe extreme painstaking care and attentiveness to detail in news related to those organs as well as rely on official sources authorized to make statements on their behalf. In the course of exercising their full press freedom, papers also have to draw a dividing line between opinion and news, adhering to the slogan that "while opinion is free, news is sacred". Consequently, the sacredness of news dictates release of information that is accurate beyond any shred of doubt.
To that effect, news stories yesterday revealed that four paper editors-in-chief and some reporters were released after having been detained by the police last Tuesday for covering reports on dismissals and transfers within the police command.
It is regrettable that those papers have sidestepped the official sources. They should hence take the lesson and ensure the authenticity of sources of their information. Still, the police authorities, whom we deeply respect, could have handled the case in a way different from detaining the pressmen. For instance, it could have invited paper editors-in-chief to an urgent press conference to set facts straight and provide them with correct information, alerting them to the damage that may be caused by circulating incorrect information.
Our country is presently passing through special pressing circumstances that call for unifying efforts to heighten the sense of responsibility among press workers and the other sectors so that we may all ultimately actualize our aspirations.
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