Noted European journalist cites importance of Bible in journalism PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 December 2011 13:25

By BEN CAL

“A good journalist should not just be aware of religious issues, but can also learn a lot from the Scripture.”

This piece of advice comes from Dr. Arne H. Fjeldstad, one of Europe’s noted journalists and chief executive officer of The Media Project, a non-government organization based in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Fjeldstad, who has visited Manila several times, is a noted theologian in his own right. He was formerly the editor of various Norwegian newspapers and the publisher of a large monthly magazine in the Middle East and North Africa before moving to The Media Project.

“Good journalists in secular media understand that religion is not a relic of the past, but helps people answer the most significant questions they will ask themselves today,” Fjeldstad told the International Novomedia Forum in Kiev last month.

He lectured on the lessons journalists working in secular media can learn from the Bible, because “a journalism that ignores or dismisses the role of religion in our common life misses the great stories of our time,” quoting Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson.

Fjeldstad posed this question: “Who am I today? What kind of family do I want? What kind of education and job am I looking for?”

“When we avoid discussing religion in secular media, the coverage we provide is imbalanced, and we deprive our audience of the answers they need,” Fjeldstad said.

“Journalists should pay attention to how Christ himself communicated with the public. Jesus talked about complex things in a simple way. He was a great storyteller and remained honest no matter what. A good journalist follows basic Christian values: Curiosity is a feature God gave us to help us become good journalists. He wants us to find out and investigate, look for comments, explore things in detail, double-check information in order to find the truth,” said Dr. Fjeldstad.

He reminded the audience about the words of Jesus who said that it is “the truth that will set us free.”

“The Bible calls us to be honest and open, never to hide ‘uncomfortable’ facts – it describes things in a sincere and unbiased way. I also encourage you to remain open, loyal to the Truth, investigate facts in depth, and stand up against censorship dumbing down,” Dr. Fjeldstad stressed.

The Media Project, an international NGO that unites journalists all over the world, has been conducting conferences and supporting journalists all over the world for 20 years now.

It aims to support and train media workers as well as promote professional and fair coverage of religious issues.