Covering riots: Should journalists attempt to quell the violence?

When riots among the fans of the Algerian and Egyptian football teams arose last week during a World Cup qualifying match, news organizations sped to cover the turmoil. And journalists, politicians and even religious clerics intervened to quell the tension by calling on Algerians and Egyptians to stick to their “Arab brotherhood” and to stop attacking each other.

But reportedly, the matches ended up "bloody" and “causing diplomatic tensions” between the two Arab countries.

In an essay published on Aljazeera Talk, Egyptian writer Imad Aldin Alsayyed criticized the fighting and expressed disappointment in "failing" to calm the tension through his writing. "I feel there is no use for the pens in our lives anymore," he wrote.

What do you think? What is your role as a journalist when reporting on riots in or involving your country?

I covered the xenophobic

I covered the xenophobic violence in Atteridgeville and Mamelodi townships, South Africa in 2008/9 and journalist worked under constant threat of being attacked. The mob did not want us near the occurances fearing that we would expose them to be punished. I imagine what would have happened if we tried to quell the violence. Journalists should not be involved in stories that they cover. Our responsibility is to let our readers know what is happening and not about our heroic deeds. Sipho Masombuka-Reporter Pretora, South Africa

When the 2007/08 post

When the 2007/08 post election violence broke out in Kenya, there was the urge to call for peace form our platform as journalists. But that was quickly criticized as taking sides. The explanation was the one side (Mwai Kibaki - current president) was calling for peace while the other (Raila Odinga - current PM) wanted justice for a stolen election. Demonstrators for the Raila side had a clear message: no Justice no Peace. In such a situation where two sides are clearly divided I think journalists risk the risk of appearing biased. At the end of the day it is through objective reporting that we shape (or should shape) public opinion. The other danger I forsee in 'taking a role in a fallout' is that of being sucked into the disagreement and losing credibility. In short, I think journalists ought not to express opinion unless they're doing editorial/commentary and clearly state so.

I don't really think it comes

I don't really think it comes down to the question of journalists in particular having a role, but more so humans, human instincts and individual morals playing a role. I know that I naturally would try to intervene despite being a journalist or not. Personal beliefs and "obligations" come first to me before my role as a journalist does and I think that in a roundabout way is the test of a journalist. It just comes down to morals and instincts

It’s not our duty. Property

It’s not our duty. Property and even human beings were randomly set on fire, and shops looted during the violence. It’s ideal to cover riots along with the police force deployed at the spot. Let the cops quell the mob.

C.O.T Azeez Jeddah KSa

The obvious lifting of the

The obvious lifting of the weapons embargo from Uzbekistan by EU foreign ministers at a meeting on 26-27 October – the last sanctions imposed four years ago for crushing a rally in Andijan on 13 May 2005, journalists believe, should not be unconditional and Germany can and should achieve at least one concession from the Uzbek government. Cops clubbing protesters with bats outside the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver. Homeless people kicking Joe Clark in the shin on Parliament Hill. Are riots and near-riots becoming part of the Canadian cultural psyche? A close examination of historical fact reveals that these events are not just part of our present; Canada has always been a nation of window smashers and car flippers. She's vying to represent the volatile and religiously conservative Pashtun-dominated border province of Paktia in the country's lower house of Parliament. They should have secured loans for emergency use of this violent action against journalist.

journalists have a role to

journalists have a role to play in helping to stop violence among people. though we may not be in the violence ourselves, but in one way or another our brothers and sisters are, so i believe we just have to write on, don't give up, there is power in pen remember. Howver we must strike a balance between reporting and promoting violence, we must not be judgemental on who we think is right or wrong and we must not be seen to be against a certain group of people.


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