Just been to the session on quality in journalism and media.
A lot of the discussion centered around two concepts:
- quality control through ISO standards
- accreditation of journalists
This was a disappointment. I am not against standards. I am against homogenization.
And if there is to be standardization, who's standards are applicable?
Is there a global standard in journalism? Is there a global standard for ethics? Are news values the same the world over?
I find it sad that in a world where the means of information production are beginning to be democratized, where digitalization has begun to allow the tools of information distribution to fall into the hands and brains and hearts of the "media disenfranchised", and particularly at a conference where one of the buzz words is "citizen empowerment", that quality is seen in so narrow a way.
For me it would be a vast increase in quality to give the people in the townships the means and basic training to produce their own newspapers, to allow the stories that we have (miss?)interpreted to be told by those whose stories they are. To give cheap digital recorders to women and children and men and let them podcast their news stories to the world. [rant will continue all week I think, so just skip the parts that sound over the top].
And as for accreditation: who will do the accrediting? The government? No thanks - and I mean *any* government. Not in Sweden, not in South Africa, not anywhere. If there were government accreditation what would be the sanctions against "non-journalists"? And imagine how easy a *legal* crackdown on citizen journalists would be!
Oh well, food calls and I will return to these subjects in boring repetition during the course of the week.
I´ll be back...