Debate on journalism ethics in the era of terrorism
With the war against terrorism at the forefront of public attention for many months there is a growing public debate on its various aspects - including one big question: is the media giving us a true picture of what is going on. Last week the Anglo-American College in Prague, in cooperation with the US embassy, organized a round table debate called "Truth and Consequences" to which it invited leading Czech and foreign war reporters. Charles Hood is director of Journalism at the Anglo-American College in Prague and Radio Prague asked him what he thought was the main message that emerged from the debate:
"I think the students and the public were expressing a lot of interesting questions, how you get at the truth when covering war is such a challenging and difficult and complicated chore. I think there was a lot of concern that despite the fact that the reporters are trying to be as impartial as they can be, are victims of a situation that makes it very difficult for them to get at the real truth of things. I think that was one very important question that, maybe, we didn't answer but there was certainly a lot of discussion about what's wrong with the news coverage of the war on terrorism.
"The conclusion many of us made was that imbedding is a good and much better process than we've had in previous wars to get at the truth of the military action but there's a lot more to be covered besides the military angle of a war. We still haven't learned how to do that. As one of the student questioners asked - how do you imbed yourself into an Iraqi family?"