Freedom of the press seems to be growing across the Middle East, as the SHSU Global Center for Journalism and Democracy co-hosted the “Media Coverage of International Justice” conference in Lebanon this past week.
The conference welcomed journalists and non-governmental organizations from across the world. While revolutions have been on the rise, the Arab media has been quite selective in terms of the information it has been passing on to the public. The President of Foundation for the Future, Nabila Hamza, even claims that the Arab world lacks an independent media, while upholding a “weak legal culture,” making the media a failure.
Topics that were discussed included the different struggles related to reporting on international justice. It seems that only a small part of the Lebanese population truly understands the international court system. Thus, the purpose of such a meeting was to improve reporting skills and also help journalists inform the public of true international justice. According to Nadim Houry, a member of the Human Rights Watch, the time needed for justice contradicts the fast pace of the media.
Journalists have the opportunity to mold peoples’ minds into swaying one way or another, and the way the media portrays certain events will definitely affect the views of the public. If the Arab world doesn’t preemptively challenge the problems of the media, Hamza will be correct in saying that the media will be a failure.