“This a country where barbers used to do the job of doctors,” says Abdelmonem Said, head of Egypt’s al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, who writes a newspaper column but does not consider himself a journalist. “We should not refer to [bloggers] as journalists unless they are qualified to perform the job of a journalist. Defending an activist in the name of journalism further complicates an already complicated situation.”
Professionalism is the best defense for Arab and Iranian journalists; facts their ultimate ally.
If everything written on the Web is equal, governments have an excuse to crack down on it all. And if journalist rights groups throw in their lot with political activists, it will be hard to make a case that jailed Iranian and Arab journalists shouldn’t be tried right alongside “cyberdissidents” advocating revolution and militants who throw bombs.
Read CPJ’s response here.