THE QUR’AN AND JOURNALISM ETHICS. By Mumini Alao.

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I promised to share some verses of the Qur’an in support of journalism ethics. Here we go:

ON TRUTH & ACCURACY: “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. (Chapter 49, verse 6).
Interpretation: Investigate and establish the truth before publication or broadcast.

ON FACTUAL REPORTING: “O you who have believed, avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin.” (Chapter 49, verse 12).
Interpretation: When in doubt, leave out.

ON OBJECTIVITY: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not personal inclination, lest you not be just.” (Chapter 4, verse 135).
Interpretation: Don’t be biased in your reporting.

ON FAIRNESS & BALANCE: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for God, witnesses in justice,  and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear God; indeed, God is Acquainted with what you do.” (Chapter 5, verse 8).
Interpretation: Don’t discriminate on account of race, religion, status, etcetera. Be balanced in your reporting.

MY CONCLUSION: Islam upholds the canons of journalism ethics. There’s no reward for a Muslim media practitioner who goes against these canons under the guise of propagating the religion. I would like to think there are similar verses in the Bible. If Nigerian journalists on both religious divides (and, by extension, regional/ethnic divides) observe the teachings of the scriptures relevant to our profession, we would be fulfilling our SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

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