World journalists denounce Fitna film

By Nawab Khan, KUNA

Brussels : The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the Fitna (strife) film of Dutch MP Geert Wilders, saying it is provocative and aimed at spreading hatred.

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In an interview with KUNA, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White described Wilders as an extremist and said the film was designed to stir up inter-cultural hatred and antagonism and that it failed completely.

He pointed out that the anti-Islam film was one of the issues raised in the Arab Media Forum entitled “Positive Media Dialogue Between East and West,” held in Kuwait last week.

White noted that one of the reasons that Fitna failed was because journalists in Europe and in the Western world took the view that this was not news.

He said, “This was not newsworthy,” adding that it was actually an act of provocation and as a result the film was not broadcasted in the Netherlands, any reputable European city or country, or the United States.

He said Journalists were not told to do so by governments or ministers of information, adding that journalists sat at their desks, considered it, and decided that this film was not worthy of being broadcasted, he stressed.

It was an ethical decision and a professional decision, he added.

It shows that left to their own devices without political pressure, journalists can take the right decisions, said White who has won international fame for his defense of journalists’ rights.

He stressed the Danish cartoon controversy taught journalists that they must improve the quality of the work they do.

“We have to be more ethical. We have got to have better training, better understanding,” White told KUNA.

The Brussels-based IFJ has over 500,000 members in over 100 countries and is considered to be the world’s largest journalists’ group.