Science Statistics and Professional Autonomy of Journalists in Arab Countries: The case of technology and health reporting in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait


Abstract: Professional Autonomy (or the lack of it) is a central issue in explaining the state of journalism in countries in the Arab countries. However, contrary to some literature in this field, which paint all these countries in a similar manner, practices and deontological approaches vary among each country and throughout the region. More important, they also present different tones within not only the countries themselves but even in regards to different news beats. No truer is this than in the case of science reporting where journalists in these countries enjoy perhaps a greater degree of professional autonomy. Consequently, this paper explores how reporters and editors engage with science reporting from the perspective of the use of statistics and data in the technology and health news beats and how this reflect wider issues in the region regarding journalism practice. This paper is based on fieldworks and unique access to sources such as journalists and content in Arabic. It employs a multi-methods approach, which allows for triangulation of the data. These research strategies include content analysis, close reading, expert panels