Quality journalism more crucial than ever

123RF / DANIL CHEPKO
123RF / DANIL CHEPKO

In an age of social media and fake news, highlighting the critical role of journalists and professional news organisations in helping people to make sense of what is happening in the world is more important than ever.

World News Day, initiated in 2018 by the Canadian Journalism Foundation and World Editors Forum, aims to do just that.

As World Editors Forum president Warren Fernandez has said, this is not an occasion for journalists to pat themselves on the back for the work they do but, rather, to focus on how they go about reporting on issues that matter to people.

 Fernandez, who is also the editor-in-chief of The Straits Times, Singapore, said it is important for newsrooms to underline the contribution they made because “at a time when so much has been turned on its head, real news matters”.

“The truth matters. Objectivity matters.

“Balance and fairness matter.

“In short, quality journalism matters.”

World News Day, quite rightly, coincides with the UN International Day for Access to Information, in recognition of the importance of the people’s right to know.

It is the first time it is being celebrated as one integrated global event, with more than 100 newsrooms worldwide taking part.

With so much misinformation circulating on social media these days, credible journalism is crucial.

Journalists play a vital role in keeping tabs on politicians and their doings, in exposing corruption in both the private sector and government, in highlighting the abysmal living conditions of so many citizens, and in investigating and reporting on a host of other societal issues.

Their job is to present an accurate, well-balanced story which covers all sides of the issue.

It is to question, to investigate, to dig for the truth.

Good journalists have courage and integrity.

They also have curiosity and tenacity, thriving on the challenge to get to the bottom of issues.

In a world feasting on “fast news”, it is up to professional media organisations and journalists to ensure that the traditional forms of gathering the news, together with the required checks and balances, don’t fall by the wayside in the rush to be “first” with the story.

In the age of Twitter, Facebook and Google, among others, there is a very clear place for credible, trusted media organisations.

World News Day, which is being celebrated for the third year, is an admirable effort to raise awareness of what professional journalists do.

We support and salute this endeavour.

The truth matters.

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