The National’s Taryam al Subaihi opined on checkbook journalism and its role in Arab countries. “Particularly in Arab countries, the battle against corruption in journalism is one that is being fought by various organisations and campaigns that have set out to educate the public – and media professionals – about the obligations and responsibilities of journalism.”
The National is a three-year-old English-language newspaper owned by Abu Dhabi Media company.
According to al Subaihi, checkbook journalism wasn’t always a problem. As news outlets became more competitive, ” the media community as a whole lost some of its integrity,” he wrote.
As evidence of checkbook journalism currently in practice, al Subaihi cited gifts of iPads for journalists present at a press conference. Al Subaihi noted that not all journalists accept gifts or practice real or in-kind checkbook journalism, the practice in itself could “compromise the entire media sector.”
Al Subaihi called for the Journalists Association and the Dubai Press Club to enforce bans on checkbook journalism. In an editor’s note, The National disclosed that its “policy allows journalists to accept inexpensive gifts, which are then put in an auction with proceeds given to charity.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Dubai Press Club for more information and will update with any response.