Where is journalism integrity? (Archived)

The ultimate role of a doctor is towards curing and fighting diseases as well as spreading health awareness, and the written word is just one of the methods used by a doctor to reach the maximum number of society members to benefit all society and spread more awareness in regards to their wellbeing.

Recently we wrote a series of articles about “Viagra” in the attempt to correct some misconceptions about the medicine. Unfortunately, written media has a major role in promoting those misconceptions, and how a big part of this misleading information was a result many addressing this subject without enough studies and research, or as a result of newspaper and magazine promotions for the medicine from different campaigns, and the overrated exaggerations or attacks against it.

We explained in details back then on the benefits and disadvantages of Viagra, and how it is like any other medicine with benefits that surpass its disadvantages, if used correctly and as instructed, and the right person with the right symptoms has been given the proper dosages by a specialist, after being medically checked and regularly followed up, and also how disadvantages may outweigh benefits if the medicine was used wrongly and without the follow up of a specialist, and in those cases, serious consequences and disadvantages can develop, similar to any other medications we use in our daily lives.

Misleading articles and words deluded readers, until this day being published in Arabic newspapers and magazines. And recently, we’ve been requested to write an article about “Viagra” in one of the Arabic magazines, only to be surprised few months later with our article being published on that magazine under a different title, that goes against all what we have written previously about “Viagra” including the article sent to the magazine.

All our articles on Viagra warn the use of this medicine without consulting a specialist, and the title chosen by the magazine was “We recommend you using Viagra”. We are not mentioning the magazines name because our purpose is to correct and not tarnish or defame the magazine, but we also assume good faith in what happen, but to misjudge on matters that can delude readers with damaging results especially in medical matters, that can have significant damage.

Some newspapers and magazines are used to choosing shiny attractive titles, to promote for their publishing, even if it was different from factual aspects. And this by itself, go against journalism integrity and the noble message of writers, but we believe that the disadvantages of promoting medical matters goes beyond that, either for economical, political or social reasons, to which we ask: how many victims were subject to corrupt health awareness, or results of wrong medical use, and or even medical mistreatments. But the other misinterpretation done on our article for that magazine was presenting it as if it was a personal (one to one) interview, when it was actually an article sent by fax!

Finally, whoever presented that article took the excitement out of it, and presented me as a captain in specialized medicine, with this overrating the article lost its creditability and seriousness, and by repeating those made-up tacky titles, facts and earned testimonials loses its value in a community consumed by those titles.

Chief Editors of Arabic newspapers and magazines should relook at who they are hiring and writing if they want to save or keep what is left of readers that still believe what is written by them.