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His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, opens the Doha Forum

Welcoming speech by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
 
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Arab Spring Sparks International Debate on Citizen Journalism
2012-05-23

The 10th session of the 12th Doha Forum, which was held here earlier Tuesday entitled, "Media" focused on ''citizen journalism'' and its role in political and social change, underlining its ability to eliminate boundaries imposed by authorities on media.
The participants attending that session addressed the new media situation in the Middle East and its possible effect on the region. Furthermore, they discussed opportunities for developing this new media phenomenon evaluating talent and placing it within the objective preconditions of professional journalism.
MP Ben Bradshaw, the Former UK Secretary of State of the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport and Exeter ,spoke in an exclusive interview to Qatar News Agency (QNA) Tuesday about how the Arab Spring has inspired the international media setting: "The Arab Spring has been an influence, we all watched pictures and reports of protests and democracy movements throughout the period and I think we felt very inspired by the people s courage and the persistence of journalists in covering a very difficult situation and times," he said.
"It has also sparked a debate in our own society about the role of conventional media, social media, and citizen journalists," he remarked. Bradshaw also spoke to QNA about one of the highlights of the session; citizen journalism as an emerging phenomenon.
"In the end, the public will make a judgment on the material they are seeing or receiving based on whether it responds to the experience of their lives, that is how you build trust, it is through objective, impartial, truthful reports," he said.
The former UK Secretary of State remarked on the hierarchy of media: "There is a hierarchy of media in that respect, some bloggers just expressing their own views to trusted media people who promoted trust over time so in a way the issue needs to be turned around the other way. Unless the journalist behaves ethically, truthfully or even a citizen journalist, they will not develop that relationship of trust with the consumer," he told QNA.
Speakers during the session expressed different views on citizen journalism. "We are in the media era. Media has turned into the event itself," Head of Mass Communication Department at Qatar University Mahmoud Galander said.
For his part, Aljazeera News Director Mustafa Sawaq said that new media has provided a chance for better coverage.
"It has provided the ordinary citizen with tools," he said.
Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and Atlantic LIVE Editor-in-Chief Steve Clemons indicated new systems redefined by new media.
"New media is varied in the world we are moving into," he said adding that a new vision is required through technology.
Hassan Al Rashidi from the Qatar Doha Centre for Media Freedom considered citizen journalism to be a phenomenon and underlined journalist safety and freedom.
"Days will push all journalism to fixed techniques and put objective preconditions on citizen journalists as well," he said adding,'' Arab Spring has opened the eyes of journalists and politicians."

QNA