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Opinion: Social responsibility is distinctive feature of journalists

Society 29.11.2019 | 14:27
Andrei Kuntsevich. An archive photo
Andrei Kuntsevich. An archive photo

MINSK, 29 November (BelTA) – Social responsibility is the main thing that makes journalists different from other sources of information, Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Andrei Kuntsevich said at the opening of the 7th forum of young journalists, BETA has learned.

“With information formats rapidly changing, the main task and function of true journalism remain unchanged. Just like 10, 50 and 100 years ago, a journalist should never forget its major mission – the search for truth and service to the society he/she belongs to,” Andrei Kuntsevich said.

He emphasized the fact that young people who embody modern journalism in Belarus have to address important tasks. “In today's world the notion of information security is inextricably linked with national security. Media experts talk about the need to defend the country's information sovereignty more and more often. The Belarusian president once told domestic journalists that journalism is a matter of public importance,” Andrei Kuntsevich said.

In his words, mass media does not only shape our view of the world, it also shapes our reality, as well as scenario and pace of developments at national and international levels. “Information space is changing rapidly. Several years ago hardly anyone believed that YouTube would seriously challenge television, while blogs and messenger channels would have a serious impact on the agendas of regions and entire countries. Such transformations give rise to serious questions: how to confront an onslaught of fake news and unreliable sources, what is the role and place of a professional journalist in today's society where anyone who has a smartphone can generate media content and influence the audience. It is up to you to answer these questions, as today you are fledgling journalists, young professionals but in the future you can become media chiefs,” Andrei Kuntsevich said.

It is important for journalists to stay on the bleeding edge of the social agenda. Mass media should act as an active mediator between the power and the public. “This is of particular importance for the regional press, after all, you feel the pulse of life on the ground better than others. Do not afraid to reach out to people, listen to them and hear their wants and needs, to provide media platform to voice their views. The information policy is not about hushing up issues. It is meant to resolve them through a constructive dialogue with the public,” Andrei Kuntsevich said.

In recent years Belarusian mass media outlets have been revising their approaches and business models taking into consideration the new media reality. Young journalists should also keep themselves up to date with ongoing transformations. “One can endlessly complain of the end of some genres like newspaper satire or the way bloggers win over the readership that a traditional media outlet has been earning for years. However, if today's audience wants to watch videos, read multimedia stories, communicate through Instagram, mass media should learn to work in these formats and do it efficiently,” Andrei Kuntsevich said.

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