Photo by Parveen Ali –
A recent article by the Daily Mail claims that police forces are expected to treat journalists as extremists. No doubt, such a proposal would violate not only the right to freedom of the press but also the right to freedom of expression in a democracy.
Furthermore, the article discusses how police officers should disclose their relationships with journalists and extremist groups, which should have been revealed from the outset. There is no doubt that this is a good idea and may assist in restoring public trust in the police.
The truth is, journalists are not extremists; they are simply acting in accordance with their profession. The objective of a journalist is to provide people with information in order to form opinions and make informed decisions. It is the responsibility of journalists to educate and inform the public about events and issues that affect their lives.
What is wrong with a journalist writing a piece aiming to improve the lives of others? Making society a better place for everyone is certainly not extremism.
Press freedom is a fundamental element of a democratic society. By seeking out and distributing news, information, ideas, commentary, and opinion, it strives to hold those in authority accountable.
In the United Kingdom, there are 0.4 percent of Muslim journalists. Even fewer people come from Muslim working-class backgrounds. Several of them are freelancers and often underpaid. Despite attending university and ultimately being in debt of more than £50k, there are very few opportunities for Muslims to work as journalists.
There are very few Muslim journalists. I am concerned that the few Muslim journalists will be subjected to an additional level of scrutiny. It is well known that Muslims, including journalists, are frequently subjected to unjustified surveillance. This raises the possibility that Muslims may be targeted more frequently in the future.
There is a question about why universities that offer journalism degrees do not inform Muslim and BAME students of the reality of the chances of obtaining a career in journalism. Is it necessary for universities to be more transparent about this issue? Exactly who is responsible for this?
It is imperative that if studying journalism and photojournalism will result in journalists being subjected to further scrutiny, then this ought to be discussed when a student enrolls on a course at a university.
In this regard, I would like to ask what journalists are permitted to write about and what they are not allowed to write about? There needs to be more clarification on this matter.
It is not a crime to pursue a career in journalism; it is a profession. If we wish to live in a truly democratic society, we must not regard journalists as extremists, especially Muslim journalists.