The association of journalists has been officially created with the election of its executive members. Henri Marimootoo (of Week-End) has apparently been elected president, with Sedley Assone (Le Dimanche) & Jean-Luc Emile (Radio Plus) as vice-pdts.
L’express has reported that their objectives are three-fold:
(1) work to promote freedom of expression & democracy
(2) provide training for journalists
(3) prepare a code of conduct for the profession
These are of course very positive initiatives for the building up of the credibility of the whole profession.
I am however wondering how far chief editors and directors of publication will also be involved or feel concerned about these endeavours. I would very much like to know whether any of them attended the meeting and are providing support to the nascent organisation. I do feel that they have to be roped in or at least persuaded to contribute in the organisation. Otherwise, we might be faced with conflicting situations if chief eds or media bosses do not themselves adhere to the code of conduct in the making.
Also, media groups themselves should feel the need to contribute actively in order to support the training programmes. Coz ultimately, the organs themselves would benefit from having skilled, competent and ethics-aware staff. How are they going to cope with the imperatives of a commercial market and the ethical code of conduct?
They should also beware of falling into the trap of feeling comfortable and secure in this association. Openness to public scrutiny and willingness to have external criticism and impartial observers are important factors in determination of credibility. Of course, the other extreme represented by political correctness should also be avoided. Impertinence and pertinence remain key elements of journalism…
Soho, I wish them good luck!