'WikiLeaks has made every person a potential journalist' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘WikiLeaks has made every person a potential journalist’

Karachi: WikiLeaks is a good illustration of the rapid changes taking place in the field of journalism. Every person has now become a journalist and there are no gatekeepers to check the flow of information, Patrick Butler, Programmes Vice-President of the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) said on Saturday.

Talking to students and journalists at the office of the Pakistan Press Foundation, the two-member delegation of the ICFJ spoke on the US-Pakistan Journalism Exchange and also discussed the new trends taking place in the field of journalism.

The journalist said that he believed that it was good that WikiLeaks had released information but, at the same time, it should also analyse the information that is being leaked and decide whether its release would be harmful for the people or not.

He said he was impressed by the way the Pakistani media handled the leakage of information, and newspapers apologised when they ran a false story. He said that the amount of information is overwhelming and one should learn to analyse information.

Speaking on the positive changes taking place in the media worldwide, he said that now it was very easy for the masses to raise their voice. He said that in some countries, bloggers were doing a better job than journalists, and were doing stories that traditional media would dare touch.

He also discussed the negative changes that the US media was witnessing and said that intense pressure and the race amongst media organisations to break the story first had increased risk of inaccuracy.

Butler said that it was unfortunate that people were turning away from the mainstream media towards the Internet. He said that people need to understand that the Internet could not afford quality journalism due to its financial constraints.

He said that media houses are suffering due to the Internet phenomena, and many media organisations have shut down their bureaus offices and investigative units across the globe.

He said that the Pakistani print media should be prepared to lose its audience to the Internet in the near future, as the phenomena is taking place worldwide.

He said that in order to keep up the standard of investigative reporting, some organisations were running on donations. He cited the example of the US where wealthy people have teamed up to support journalists doing investigative pieces for the public.

Meanwhile, Johanna Carrillo, Senior Programme Director ICFJ, elaborated on the exchange programme and said that around 130 Pakistani journalists would be taken to the US for a four-week internship, whereas 30 American journalists would come to Pakistan.

She said that the first batch comprises 40 broadcast journalists whereas in the second one journalists from the print media would be entertained.
Source: The News
Date:12/12/2010