Editors Weblog 28 April 2006
Editors Voice:
Arab Press Lack Credibility Due to Government Ownership

According to Mohammed  Jasem Al Saqr , an acclaimed Arab journalist and editor of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas, very few newspapers in the Arab world are perceived as credible sources. Because most media establishments are owned directly or indirectly by the government, there is little breathing room.

Speaking at the Arab Media Forum 2006, Al Saqr said the media in the region lacks credibility and out of about 250 papers in the area, only 5 or 10 are reliable. A good part of the news covered and given priority involves coverage of top government officials and the govenment’s reach into affecting the outcome of news extends even into sports, he said.

Othman Al Omeir, publisher of the powerful online Arabic newspaper Elaph, said that it was not possible to separate the society from the media. He continued to say that society will reflect its media coverage and blamed the state of infrastructure in the region and a lack of technology.

But Al Omair said that questioning the credibility of the Arab media was generalizing an issue. Jamil Matar, Head of the Arab Centre for Development and Future Research, said that one cannot expect credibility from the media when the rest of the system lacks credibility.

Source:  Khaleej Times