Free For The First Time In Decades, Libyan Media Struggles To Define Itself

from the when-the-shackles-come-off dept

The Arab Spring sparked plenty of discussion about the roles that social media, mobile devices and other technologies can play in toppling oppressive regimes. But there's another aspect to events in the Middle East that should prove enlightening to those interested in the role of media: what happens afterwards? In Libya, there is suddenly press freedom after 42 years of censorship and government control, and it has led to the appearance of countless new newspapers, websites and TV and radio stations, all working to build a journalistic landscape essentially from scratch. As an article in Global Post reveals, the result is understandably somewhat chaotic:

"We are yet to see even semi-professional reporting," said Jamal Dajani, the regional vice president for Internews, an international media development organization." TV reports are dominated by unfocused footage and "amateur standups," he says. "There are no standards on presentation. Long reportage and news packages are jumbled together like a mixed cocktail."

I find that comment interesting because it echoes some of the criticisms leveled at blogs and online media in the western world. The key difference is that while amateur journalism here has been able to draw upon the resources of traditional media as it develops, in Libya there is no such support structure:

A year ago, Libya's entire newspaper industry consisted of only six government-run papers. Television and radio were completely state-owned and international news was heavily censored. Dajani described it as a "one-man media" operation designed to promote former leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family.

[...]

The former regime's repression left little chance for most journalists to develop core skills. Even those considered professionals did not have the chance to work in any real capacity as journalists.

As Dajani put it, trained Libyan reporters have been "paralyzed" for the past four decades and in the eyes of the new generation they now have "zero credibility." The new landscape has emerged largely through the efforts of unskilled but enthusiastic amateurs.

It's too early to know what will emerge from the post-revolution chaos, but the big question is whether the press will establish its independence—which isn't guaranteed just because the government was toppled:

While government censorship has been almost nonexistent under the new system, Internews has expressed concern about "self censorship" and "public pressure" to omit information that may be deemed "against the revolution."

[...]

At the outset of the revolution, free and fair media was a major demand. Unsurprisingly, the media that emerged in the rebel territories took on the identity of the revolution, promoting those devoted to the cause.

As the new government and constitution begin to take shape, Libya's media has failed to shift from advocacy to neutrality.

I think "neutrality" is a dangerous term when it comes to the media, because too much emphasis on remaining neutral leads to sterile he-said-she-said journalism, where reporters don't feel the need to judge the veracity of opposing positions as long as they give them equal airtime. I prefer the standards of transparency, fairness and accuracy: having an opinion is okay, as long as you are upfront about it and open to changing it, and as long as you don't intentionally ignore facts that conflict with it. But this is the good thing about having an open landscape with a wide array of voices: these standards are naturally encouraged, because when one source violates them, others are quick to call them out. As Libyans' focus shifts to the upcoming election, it's likely that the self-censorship will decrease, and the fierce competition in the media will begin to improve the quality throughout.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Neutrality

    While I agree with you that opinions in journalism are ok as long as there is transparency, part of that transparency is that they need to be clearly identified as just that OPINIONS. There is a reason newspapers have traditionally compartmentalized them to OP/ED pages. It is even fine to have completely opinion dedicated publications as long as neutral reporting exists. This is to say that both are needed. Neutral sources of news are still important.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      chelleliberty (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:04am

      Re: Neutrality

      Factual, not neutral: "Today government X has admitted to the murder of thousands of Y people, claiming that the act was necessary due to law Z. Thousands of people have stormed the capital in protest of this clearly horrendous act, saying what is obvious: that the murders of thousands could never be justified through law Z, and that those in charge should be brought to justice. Still, the people who ordered the operation have tried to defend their actions with spurious arguments, saying that law Z gave them all the authority they needed, and showing just how far they are willing to go in defense of this law."

      Factual, neutral: "Today government X has admitted to the killing of thousands of Y people, pointing to law Z as justification. Thousands stormed the capital in protest, saying that law Z couldn't justify the killings, and demanding that those in charge be punished. The people who ordered the operation, however, stand by their claim that the law provided the justification necessary for the killings."

      My point being: I have heard this argument many times, that we must have the neutral facts recited to us (RE: the he-said she-said comment in the article) without any opinion interspersed that might possibly cloud the issue. But, please explain: how is it that having an opinion means that you don't give the facts? I will agree that making up facts in support of your opinion is not journalistic, but I still have not heard one good reason why someone can't do both: have/give an opinion, while still giving the facts.

      And, I will also add: how do you propose that the selection of the facts to present doesn't also inherently, except in the simplest of situations, already force an implicit reliance on the opinion of the authors about which facts are important?

      I'd much rather get the facts and opinion together (which, by the way, I don't really have a problem parsing out which is which, do you?) and know what biases to watch out for, than to receive the facts with all trace of the true opinion of the journalist removed from view, such that it's hard to know which types of bias I should be looking out for in their interpretation of the facts.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re: Neutrality

        The importance of being factual is a given regardless of where there is a slant to it or not. If it is slanted and isn't supported by facts it fails. If it isn't factual at all it's a lie.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re: Neutrality

        The problem is when a piece PRETENDS to be neutral but really isn't.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re: Neutrality

        People rely on the news to give them a balanced accounting of what happened, and a quick recap/opinion on what it means. The problem comes when you have news organizations cherry picking facts to base those opinions on. See: Fox News.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Neutrality

          "See: Fox News."

          This is what I was referring to in my last comment. Fair and Balanced my ass.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Niall (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Neutrality

            I think the BBC is probably one of the gold standards for this (and I know I may be biased in being British). It doesn't shy away from reporting stuff, but it doesn't editorialise it either. The problem with chelleliberty's examples was that actually the second option is the better reporting, unless the media makes it clear what its leanings are, and even then that's not ideal. Fox all too much tends to go for the first type.

            It also misses out a third type that seems all too common I believe in American media:
            Opposing-sides factual, fake-neutral: "Scientists today identified the degree that the Earth differs from a true sphere using the latest satellite technology. Researchers from the University of the West of America managed to improve the accuracy of their readings until the degree of oblateness is known to 1 part in 10 trillion. Commenting on this refinement, Joe Shmoe of the Flat Earth Lodge of Concerned Humans told reporters 'This is more fakery from the elitist, snobtastic ivory towers that is not only perpetuating myths about the Earth being round but oppressing those who are trying to expose the lies and teach the controversy.' A spokesman from the University of the West of America declined to comment on this response."

            There are other types, but I suspect we can leave the National Enquirer and Daily Mail out of it for now.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 9:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Neutrality

              Yeah it HAS to be the truth if it appeared in the National Enquirer. :P

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              chelleliberty (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 11:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Neutrality

              > The problem with chelleliberty's examples was that
              > actually the second option is the better reporting,
              > unless the media makes it clear what its leanings
              > are, and even then that's not ideal.

              I have a hard time understanding how you can reconcile the first part of your statement with the second--my entire point was that the first option *is indeed making those leanings clear* whereas the second one *is hiding them* behind a contrived 'neutrality'? Give me those who are straight up about their biases any day; I'd watch someone giving report #1 over report #2 any day of the week regardless of which side of the issue I came down on.

              And, simply asserting "actually the second option is the better reporting" still does not answer my related criticism: the mere selection of what facts to present is going to provide more than ample room for someone's biases to come through in their reporting, whether or not those biases are made explicit. So, again, aren't we at an advantage when someone reporting a charged situation as in my examples doesn't pretend they don't have an opinion? Don't those biases provide me with far more to go on about what may have been left out of the report when I am attempting to collate enough information to form an educated opinion?

              And you put forth a "third type" but how is one to come up with the difference? If I didn't already know that a reporter had biases, and I didn't know anything about flat earth vs. round earth, how am I even supposed to know to check it out? You are giving a case which, to me, seems nothing more than a straw man: of course it's easy to knock down and say QED. But what of more complex cases: what of cases where you don't know a priori whether those statistics are valid? What of more complex cases where you have a reasonable sounding alternative on the other side? Theoretically the journalist did research, right? If all that reporter is going to do is give me quotes from the sources, then why in the heck would I ever choose to listen to that person anyway instead of going out and finding people who are going to actually give me some sort of details of what their investigation found?

              The case I gave however, is a situation that is much more like the situation we have today, for instance, in cases of violent action by troops in wartime. I could have just as well taken the other perspective for my non-neutral and the example would have been just as valid.

              Would you rather have had a report on the Mai Lai massacre saying what the reporter had determined was a more reasonable view of what had happened? Or, rather, just saying some people say this, some people say that, well, who knows, right?

              Or, what of reporters reporting on the Dutch contributions to the massacre of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica? Better just to say well, the government says this, the war institute says this, who can say? Would that have been good journalism?

              Not from where I sit. There's are many reasons, but one driving factor behind the very small press given to similar situations happening in wartime to this day, as compared to stories such as were reported during the Vietnam era, is the belief of so many non-journalists that 'neutrality' rather than 'rational enquiry' is the proper function of such reporting, rational conclusions be damned.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Arab spring is something that proves piracy is important. We might use our internet to get things for free, but they used it to protest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Leave it to the trolls with their one track minds to try to make a story that has absolutely nothing to do with piracy about piracy. Really. You should seek some professional help for your OCD.

      But since you brought it up, protest was EXACTLY what happened on January 18th and has been going on all over Europe since then over ACTA. As much as you try to spin it to be "just Google", EVERYONE knows the difference.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Faux News, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:06am

    News should NEVER be opinionated

    I think "neutrality" is a dangerous term when it comes to the media, because too much emphasis on remaining neutral leads to sterile he-said-she-said journalism, where reporters don't feel the need to judge the veracity of opposing positions as long as they give them equal airtime. I prefer the standards of transparency, fairness and accuracy: having an opinion is okay, as long as you are upfront about it and open to changing it, and as long as you don't intentionally ignore facts that conflict with it.


    I wholeheartedly disagree. This is how things like FOX News became so popular. They show some differing opinion, and offer their own, and pretend that they're open to debate and differing viewpoints. They meet your qualifications (not perfectly, but they do), and yet they're the most unfair and biased "news" agency outside of a oppressive government-run agency like what used to exist in Libya.

    When news correspondents begin throwing their opinion, it ceases to be news and becomes an Op-Ed. Op-Eds are not news, and never should be considered such.

    Of course, the exception to this are people like Walter Cronkite. He did offer Op-Ed-styled reporting, but did so in a way that truly and almost perfectly met your definition of newsworthy standards. However, that was a different time where news was news, and not intended to sell ads or sensationalism. Back then, truth was sensational enough. Now, it requires chalkboards, Christian v. Islam holy wars, thousand-inch LCD's everywhere, and the color red (seriously, look at FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc., and tell me what color you see most). This isn't news anymore, it's shock-jock talk radio on TV.

    TL;DR: Opinionated news is not news, it's Op-Ed. News should be sterile.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:25am

      Re: News should NEVER be opinionated

      While I tend to agree that I want a more factual basis for my news, we should understand that there can be a difference between analysis and obviously slanted nonsense. Fox News is the latter, and I frankly don't even know if we have a major source for the former anymore, but it COULD be done.

      The problem with politics and news in the modern era is that it is reported upon much in the same way that Sports Center "reports" on athletics, which is to say it's all about hype and marketing and not enough about information. Media is partly to blame for this, for perpetrating it upon us, but we're to blame for not demanding better....

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re: News should NEVER be opinionated

        PBS News isn't horrible. But I think that's mostly to do with brevity. They get an hour to do it all. They aren't a 24 hour news organization so they don't have the time to craft a well honed message.

        Also, no matter what the heck Fox says, I really like NPR news. Their international coverage is heads and tails better than anything else in the US.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:19am

      Re: News should NEVER be opinionated

      This was basically the point of my original comment. However except for the "pretending to be neutral" part, I don't really have a problem even with the fact that FOX news exists because at least here in the U.S. we have multiple sources that, for the most part, try to stay neutral in what they report so we have alternative sources to hold it up against. I say "for the most part" because most of them are still guilty of omitting the coverage of issues that don't support their own corporate interests. (See: lack of SOPA coverage prior to January 18th).

      And I would say that the key thing about Cronkite goes back to the transparency comment. When he switched to delivering an Op/Ed piece it was CLEARLY and PURPOSELY framed as such so that he would not lose his credibility as a reporter of the news.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 7:40pm

      Re: News should NEVER be opinionated

      Does fact-checking count?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:04am

    " too much emphasis on remaining neutral leads to sterile he-said-she-said journalism, where reporters don't feel the need to judge the veracity of opposing positions as long as they give them equal airtime. I prefer the standards of transparency, fairness and accuracy"

    Clearly working for the National Post hasn't taught you much about journalism.

    The real concept is to present the two sides and to allow the reader / viewer / listener to draw their own conclusions. If you want to draw a conclusion for them, write an op-ed.

    There is a line that always needs to be drawn, so that the public can decide for themselves, and also get the opinions of others to compare the own opinion to. When those two things get mixed together (think Fox News), you end up with an incredibly one sided view of the world.

    "Earth is flat - we report, you decide" pretty much sums it up. If you are only provided one side (the side you like) then you can really slant reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      The real concept is to present the two sides and to allow the reader / viewer / listener to draw their own conclusions. If you want to draw a conclusion for them, write an op-ed.

      And yet so often that becomes total bullshit. It is NOT responsible for a journalist to present something like this:

      Physicist: "The earth is round."
      Some Guy With A Title From Some Made-Up Society: "The earth is flat."

      And then leave it to the reader to decide. That's lazy journalism. One of those people is right, and their "opinion" is actually a fact, backed up by a huge body of evidence. The other is just making up bullshit. That's what I mean by sterile he-said-she-said journalism. It is absolutely not enough to just present both sides of the story, when those sides are not at all equal to each other. It's the journalists job to dig deeper, and demonstrate why only one of those people is correct.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Niall (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re:

        Ok, I should have finished reading the comments before my above diatribe doing the exact same thing!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re:

        If you can prove 100% that one is right, then you have something. The problem isn't in the obvious black / white parts of the universe, but rather when you get into more subtle things, like say politics or protests.

        Were the SOPA protesters right? I know if you were writing the news, they sure would be.

        Are the Republicans always right? If Fox News is reporting, they sure are.

        It is a journalist's job to present:

        Physicist: "The earth is round."
        Some Guy With A Title From Some Made-Up Society: "The earth is flat."
        third party view that may support one or the other, usually from a reputable source. Just having the report say "the earth is flat guy is right" just doesn't work.

        Having the "earth is flat" guy be the only one in the article is equally dishonest. It's what happens on opinion blogs all the time (Hi Mike!) where only the parts of stories or studies that the writer likes gets presented, and the other side is ignored.

        Do you know the difference between Rush Limbaugh and Fox News? Neither do I... both claim things are facts that are not entirely true at times.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 10:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The difference between Rush and Fox is Rush doesn't pretend to be neutral. As I said before in comments on a previous article, Rush is a side-show. His JOB is to distract people from focusing on the issues that the GOP doesn't want them to focus on. The fact that he has a following of lemmings that hang on his every word and believe every piece of crap that flies out of his mouth as the gospel truth is a bonus for them. I'm pretty sure even he doesn't honestly believe half the garbage that he says but he surely knows what result saying it will have. One thing he's not is an idiot. He knows his role and he plays it well.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The difference between Rush and Fox is Rush doesn't pretend to be neutral. As I said before in comments on a previous article, Rush is a side-show."

            Yup. But if Rush was instead the Limbaugh News Network, would he be any more credible?

            What Marcus is missing (and boy does he miss a lot) is that credibility comes in part with presentation. Fox gets away with a lot because they push the "no bias" line every chance they get, even as they spew biased information. They are way trickier than Rush, because we all know Rush is a fanboi.

            You need an unbiased source for news, as you need a completely biased source for opinion. Fox breaks the rules by playing at one but really doing the other. What Marcus suggests is that this is a good model, and I doubt you could find many people who would agree with that (except perhaps Murdoch).

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 12:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dude....you actually just said it's a journalist's job to present the audience w/a person who says the Earth is flat....that's fucking awesome....

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re:

        What I was saying was there needs to be a place for factually saying "This happened today." WITHOUT adding commentary on what the entity saying it thinks it means. There IS a place for editorialism, like TechDirt for instance. You don't pretend to be neutral and that is fine as long as truly neutral sources of information do exist as well. They are apples and oranges. However what Fox News does is present it self as an apple when it's really an orange and that is patently dishonest.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          chelleliberty (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:09am

          Well, Fox violates the main part of the deal, which is the factual part... But, see that problem has nothing to do with whether they come to conclusions based on facts they determine... Hell, even if they called themselves the "Fox Opinion Network: We decide, then tell you what we decided, 'cause we're the deciders, too." with the "O'Reilly All-Spin-All-The-Time Zone", I don't see that excusing actual lies.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          chelleliberty (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, Fox violates the main part of the deal, which is the factual part... But, see that problem has nothing to do with whether they come to conclusions based on facts they determine... Hell, even if they called themselves the "Fox Opinion Network: We decide, then tell you what we decided, 'cause we're the deciders, too." with the "O'Reilly All-Spin-All-The-Time Zone", I don't see that excusing actual lies.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:07am

    "We are yet to see even semi-professional reporting,"

    Yeah here too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Kiwini, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 8:47am

    Neutrality begins at home

    "I prefer the standards of transparency, fairness and accuracy: having an opinion is okay, as long as you are upfront about it and open to changing it, and as long as you don't intentionally ignore facts that conflict with it. But this is the good thing about having an open landscape with a wide array of voices: these standards are naturally encouraged, because when one source violates them, others are quick to call them out."

    I do too, and it's a beyond-crying shame that the mainstream media here in the USA takes FAIL in those standards to new depths.

    And it's going to get worse all the way to the elections.

    Getting back on topic- kudos and best wishes for the Libyans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 21st, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Having had the pleasure of working in the news biz when I was younger before I learned that I couldn't really earn much of a living from it and went on to something else I'd like to say something here.

    There is no such thing as neutral journalism. Never has been, never will be.

    Factual is another matter and in North America and western Europe most outlets content themselves with that, at least story by story. But neutral? Never.

    Say you work in a newsroom where it's unanimously considered that the town council are a bunch of jerks. It's easy to write a factual story in such a way that the opinion comes through loud and clear or, where a reporter tries hard, to kinda hide it. At the same time human beings are full of opinions and how they view the world and most don't bother to hide it because that is buried deep in their being and that's what they write from even if the story is factual and contains no obvious opinions the reporter has. Most of us have learned to filter that out.

    So I can read the National Post (in Canada) and admire the quality of the writing and reportage while filtering out the right of centre views of the paper and its staff. Then read the Victoria Times-Colonist and I filter out the left of centre bias that's built in to most of their factual stories and despair for the future of journalism because I find the quality of the writing and reportage to be so poor.

    Where opinion shows, after the infamous "if it bleeds it leads", is the order the stories are presented in. What's top of the newscast on a private radio station may not be what's top of newscast on the CBC even if they are reading the same stories. The same applies to newspapers in the editor's choice of what does and doesn't land on the front page. Even if all the stories are factually correct.

    In short we have a pretense of neutrality while we accept all the examples that plainly say the outlet isn't neutral at all and filter for that, too. Of course, from our own biases, ethics, opinions and world view.

    They Libyans will end up there in time. It's in the interests of the "press" themselves there that they end up that way simply to sell themselves to a certain audience in the country. Much as media does in North America and Western Europe. In fact, from Leigh's piece that may be starting to happen already as the "press" experiments with things like self-censorship, public pressure and other influences as they line up with certain groups.

    That the newly free "press" hasn't moved from advocacy to even a pretense of neutrality I'm not surprised as it's been very recently that the chains were taken off and the country changed beyond recognition of what was there before.

    They're learning on the fly and, in the end, what they end up with will be something Libyans accept as responsible and accurate reporting (note that I didn't say unbiased or without opinion) so that they can have faith that what they read, see or hear is factually correct if nothing else.

    It doesn't matter one whit what we think about what they end up with just as long as it isn't censored or controlled by their government. Put another way, that it's free.

    By the way when I write "press" here I'm referring to all media forms, printed, radio, television and Web.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      I agree, but neutrality (much like security) more of a concept than a goal that can be achieved. True nothing is absolutely neutral (just as nothing is absolutely secure) however the journalists can keep the concept in mind and be aware of the implications of their presentation such that they present the content in the fairest possible light. It's kind of like playing golf... no matter how good you get, there is always room for improvement.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2012 @ 9:28pm

    What do you mean by "free"? No media is free. There is no freedom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    chelleliberty (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:30am

    "neutral" vs. "without opinion"

    "without opinion": what you need to be prior to investigating something if you want to come as close as you can to the truth based on the evidence alone

    "neutral": the proper attitude to take when finding and examining the evidence allowing you to go from "without opinion" to "with opinion" with as little bias as possible (and even after forming an opinion, by remaining open to contradictory evidence)

    For instance, judges are ethically bound to remain neutral in non-jury cases they preside over; yet they are not considered to be non-neutral simply for deciding the case based on the facts in evidence.

    Would it be better if judges weren't allowed to do anything but just say, "yep, they both presented evidence. Phew... No real way to know who's right here... "?

    So what makes it the right thing to expect from a journalist?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This