Reigniting the debate over what really constitutes a journalist in the fast changing digital world, veteran journalist and television show host Talat Hussain made the distinction as clear as possible: no responsibility and no accountability means bloggers are not journalists.
“I have huge respect for bloggers but blogs are hugely opinionated pieces, which is fine, we are used to that, but they are not backed by any sense of accountability or responsibility.”
He explained that while the internet and the digital world had created new groups which “angle” themselves as journalists, the fact is that they “are not.”
Without the burden of accountability, Hussain opined that bloggers and commentators online are “much freer in their ability to analyse general content than journalists or regular run of the mill producers.”
In fact, if anything, those online act as a judge on mainstream journalists in the highly digitised sphere of media.
“They are the ones who have blogs on us, they are the ones who have websites on us – they are the ones who are taking the mickey out of us, which is fine really, but it is a sort of supra independent sphere that has been created by technology.”
Hussain believed that due to the frantic pace of exchanges and communication online, much has to be dumbed down so as to cram information into the limited mediums of communication online.
“There is too much talking and there is too much emphasis on texting and because you have to cram from Twitter to messages, a great thought into 100 words or less, it constrains you to dumb down your thinking.”
But the DawnNews host was optimistic on the internet’s potential to bring about change.
“If you use that [internet] to spread information, timely information that people can use in their daily life and get some result out of it…if you were to use this pathway of information flow for more productive purposes then it can lead to mass change.”
Positive political usage has also been encouraging as Hussain pointed out that “some political parties have used the new means of technology available to expand their memberships, send their messages across.”
“So they [political parties] are doing it. But by and large a lot of idle talk and dumbed down thoughts.”