Values Attributed to Arab Professionalism in Arab Academic Journalism Education
Professionalism is a value that institutions of tertiary education in the Arab world strive for, in universities as well as in academic journalism programmes, with objectives highlighting marketable skills and/or sophistication, committing to excellence and ethics. This observation leads to the question whether this variation stakes out an understanding of Arab professionalism, and to which definition it points.
The study was piloted in Jordan, and carried out in Lebanon, Morocco (2013) and Egypt, Qatar (2014). Ninety-six face-to-face interviews were conducted by the author. The respondents represent media academia (faculty, students), media practitioners and their audiences, social media, journalistic associations, policymakers, donor institutions.
The study suggests that Arab professionalism may well be described as "non-amateur, regular work that follows specific standards and provides a living (but does not necessarily create wealth). Ethical values preside over the profession. The professional is bound to achieve excellent work results through comprehensive and certified knowledge - possibly based upon academic research and gained in academic programmes - and through an altruistic motivation, servicing the beneficiaries, the individual as well as the society". Associations are not being introduced as a trait in journalistic professionalism, at least not pro-actively. Respondents highlight that this description of Arab professionalism outlines the ideal and does not necessarily reflect reality.