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Panel debates print journalism challenges

20/05/2017
The challenges facing print journalism was the subject of a heated panel discussion hosted by Azm University on May 20, with the participation of Mr. Talal Selman, publisher and editor of the now defunct As-Safir newspaper, Mr. Rafic Khoury, editor of Al Anwar, and Mr. Salah Salam, editor of Al-Liwa.

To a standing-room-only audience, the three editors presented their views on the economic challenges facing print journalism in the age of digital media. Mr. Selman, whose newspaper shut down in April, finally succumbing to financial pressures, blamed the current political climate in the Arab Word for the inability of serious journalism to thrive.

Mr. Selman argued that previous generations saw hope in the ideologies of Arabism, and left-leaning movements, and therefore were more involved and more interested in following current events. That interest provided journalists with a large and informed audience. Today’s generations, he said, are either disillusioned or are following movements that do not rely on the role of reason and information, but on ideology. Under these circumstances, keeping up with the news becomes almost unnecessary.

In turn, Mr. Khoury saw the availability of news and information on the internet and through social media as the main cause for the demise of print journalism. He pointed to the problem of credibility in social media, saying that oftentimes the facts offered are not only misleading and out of context, but actually patently wrong.

Unfortunately, he argued, most users of social media are unware or unperturbed by the fact that the information that they receive, share, and discuss may be totally unreliable.

Mr. Salam argued that a good healthy press cannot exist in a country that does not itself enjoy a stable and healthy political and social climate, as the media reflects the social forces at play in society.

A question and answer period followed the presentations by the three lecturers.
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