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The necessity for better journalistic training and education, as well as more resources for journalists: Journalists should be permitted to report without drawing on sensationalist stereotypes, should be allowed to operate more freely in their field of work and should be relieved from their job-related restrictions. This can only be achieved if their superiors, for example their editors-in-chief are included in such training. If journalists and editors have a broader general knowledge and more balanced views on the topics, coverage will be more objective and closer to reality. More financial resources and time must be provided to the journalists to allow for in-depth reporting rather than event-oriented news.
A closer adherence to journalistic standards and a global harmonisation of such standards: The guidelines for professional, or more specifically, conflict sensitive journalism, must be upheld and the adherence to such guidelines rewarded. The advantages of conflict sensitive journalism must be signalled not only to journalists, but also to media executives and managers, and perhaps most importantly, to audiences. Only if every party involved learns to appreciate the assets of professional journalism, can more balance be achieved in reporting.
The necessity to deconstruct distorted narratives that exist within the public discourse: As coverage of the migratory movements during the Arab Spring have shown, the images conveyed by a large part of the media are distorted, and are charged with biased narratives that lead to a misguiding discourse. This produces “myths of migration” which are reproduced over and over and can exacerbate the real-life situation of migrants. Hence it can be gathered that the supposed system of checks and balances between the media, politics and academia is failing.
This failure becomes especially clear where events in the Islamic world are concerned. In order to achieve more objective and balanced reporting, the above-mentioned recommendations should be followed, and reporting needs to include voices from the Arab world. Experts from respective conflict regions or subject areas must be included, even if they do not necessarily fit into the Western framework. Migrants and people from migrant backgrounds must be given the opportunity to play a larger role in key areas of society, especially in the media. There is a shared responsibility shouldered by politics, the media and academia to allow greater diversity and inclusion in our society.
Daniele Saracino is a fellow of ifa’s Research Programme “Culture and Foreign Policy” and a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Political Science and Sociology at the University of Bonn.
He studied philosophy, political science and modern German literature in Bonn. Among other activities, he worked on the research project “Migration and Security—Durable Solution for Refugees” at the University of Bonn and at the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).