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Mijas town hall hosts Press Club journalism debate

Anette Skou and Katja Thirion of the  Mijas Foreigners' Department with Jesper Sander Pedersen and the three speakers.
Anette Skou and Katja Thirion of the Mijas Foreigners' Department with Jesper Sander Pedersen and the three speakers. / KARL SMALLMAN
  • The event was hosted by the Mijas Foreigners' Department in La Cala

A round table talk about investigative journalism, entitled "Is investigative journalism a dying dinosaur?" was the format for the April meeting of the Costa Press Club. At a time when anyone with a smartphone can instantly publish their version of "news" to the world, what is the future for professionals trained to sift information and contrast sources?

This was the topic discussed by local journalists Agustín Rivero, Malaga correspondent for El Confidencial; Damián Ruíz Fájula, freelance journalist (former correspondent for El Mundo); and Mats Björkman, chief editor of Sydkusten, in a discussion led by the Costa Press Club president, Jesper Sander Pedersen. The panellists agreed that professional investigative journalism is essential and must be fostered, to avoid political censorship or the pressure of big businesses.

Mats Björkman spoke of the recent trend in Spain towards more independent media, funded by subscribers or systems like crowdfunding rather than advertising.

Dutch journalist Elsa Beckman also spoke from the floor about the danger of public opinion being polarised by uncontrasted opinions and "reports" on social media. The consensus was that there will always be a role for the professional media as an impartial watchdog, and to ensure the accountability of decision-makers.

The event, which was hosted by the Mijas Foreigners' Department in La Cala, was followed by dinner at the Restaurante El Torreón.