It is no secret that television reporters await volatile events to rush to the scene and well, cover. That’s what they do, that’s what they’ve been trained to do, and that’s their way of life.
A reporter’s mind is ingrained with such instincts – enabling him/her to brush with death – in hopes of being among the first to report the story. It’s a rush, a mixture of fear, adrenalin all blended into a sense of “heroism”.
Reporters, journalists and other media persons get sucked into a vortex of storytelling, the more they stay in the job. To be “in the moment” when a major event strikes, is being the event – feeling, breathing and expressing it back to viewers at home.
Like all other professions, journalists and media persons make mistakes. Sometimes it’s trusting the wrong source and sometimes the love of the spotlight gets in the way. The latter in our opinion is when reporting and journalism take on a different role. Suddenly they no longer are the “witnesses”, no longer the “watchdogs”, turning into propaganda mouthpieces.
For long as we can remember, Lebanon has always fallen prey to the fine line which divides the two. Being such a “young” acquaintance to the world of “objective story telling” Lebanon and other Arab countries have yet to learn and so continuously face a challenge, on whether to tell the truth, or otherwise tell it their way.
It’s a challenge, we’ll give you that.
However, one thing can determine whether or not the truth, the whole truth, is being delivered and that is live transmission. Yes, it may be daunting, even depressing, inconvenient to say the least when your favorite program is interrupted by a long, hefty news broadcast.
Nevertheless, one does always have a choice, and that choice is embodied in a remote control. Viewers can always change the channel to continue watching and enjoying other escapist programs.
Now on to the other issue.
Lately LBCI and other channels have become the targets to smear campaigns, accusing the channel of distorting truths, taking sides and even receiving bribes. Our guess this is due to Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world’s unfamiliarity with news channels taking on a heavier interest in social/humanitarian news, the issue of the Lebanese hostages being one of them.
Today LBCI was slapped on the wrist by non-other than our beloved Lebanese government, for what is being viewed as “misinformation” regarding the issue of the detainees. One tip-off led “our” government to suddenly take on the role of responsibility otherwise blatantly absent.
So in those regards, allow us to ask this:
How is it acceptable for media institutions to be accused of such low standards, seemingly when one of them holds over 27 years of experience in the field of journalism?
Truth be said, channels do evolve along with their content and news presentation – but when the Lebanese government, or sources close to that same government, leak information which should otherwise remain classified – we see no reprimand on their part.
Yes, we are all for placing every side accountable for creating chaos or inciting sectarianism, fear and mayhem in Lebanon, but topping that list you’ll find the Lebanese government -wearing a cape- for over thirty years of excellence in that field!
As for the others we say, journalists are witnesses to history, let them witness, and turn a blind eye if you chose to do so.
is currently the editor for LBCI Online English News. She received her Honors in Communication Arts (Media Production) from The University of Western Sydney in 2008.