MU Director Trains Lebanese, Syrian Journalists in Beirut

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil trained two groups of Lebanese and Syrian journalists in a follow up to earlier courses organized by BBC Media Action.

Lebanese journalists learn how to tighten their copy

Lebanese journalists learn how to tighten their copy

Key expert and BBC veteran Russell Peasgood provided guidance on how to improve their TV and radio reporting and editing skills.

Russell Peasgood explains fine points of good TV coverage

Russell Peasgood explains fine points of good TV coverage

The consecutive May 2014 workshops in Beirut included reporters and bloggers from various print, broadcast and online media in Lebanon and Syria as well as Syrian journalists in exile.

Magda Abu-Fadil shoots training session video

Magda Abu-Fadil shoots training session video

Stories ranged from hard news coverage and feature articles on the conflict in Syria and Syrian refugees, to the work of municipalities, water policies in the Middle East, university curricula, and women’s electoral rights and empowerment.

Syrian journalist's report appears on Aljazeera

Syrian journalist’s report appears on Aljazeera

The Syrian journalists discussed obstacles they faced in verifying information about casualties, obtaining accurate data from opposing sources, and assorted dangers while reporting from the field.

Syrian reporters and mentor attend Beirut follow-up workshop

Syrian reporters and mentor attend Beirut follow-up workshop

The European Union-funded workshops are part of a program run by a BBC Media Action-led consortium covering 17 countries in the “European Neighbourhood.”

Abu-Fadil (left) with Peasgood (center rear) and Lebanese journalists

Abu-Fadil (left) with Peasgood (center rear) and Lebanese journalists

 

 

 

“The Endless Battle on Corruption in Media”

Lebanese journalists face hardships in accessing information, with legal checks and outside pressures barring them from conducting proper investigations into corruption, Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil said.

“Laws often trip up journalists as their interpretation or misapplication hamper serious investigations and the uncovering of wrongdoing,” she told the International Anti-Corruption Academy’s “IACAlumnus” magazine.

1IACAlumnus_Issue 2_2014-1

But, she noted, that if a dedicated journalist is intent on covering corruption issues, he/she can do so at his/her own peril.

“The Endless Battle on Corruption in Media,” an article in the magazine by Rouba El Helou, focuses on issues like the mixture of politics, religion and economics that lead to corruption in media and undermine journalists.

“Revealing the truth in corruption stories helps protect citizens from further harm, sets a good example as to what ethical behavior ought to be, and acts as a deterrent to potential criminals,” Abu-Fadil said.

 

Lebanese Media Challenged in Covering Elections: Abu-Fadil

Lebanese media covering elections face a double challenge: reporting events tied to antiquated sectarian-based laws and grasping draft legislation aimed at reforming what’s on the books.

They must also deal with constraints on journalists and their organizations that hamper newsgathering and dissemination, Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil told reporters at a forum in Amman.

Magda Abu-Fadil on challenges in covering Lebanese elections

Magda Abu-Fadil on challenges in covering Lebanese elections

Her presentation drew on attempts by Lebanon’s National Commission on Parliamentary Electoral Law to streamline procedures, regulations on campaign finances, advertising, the voting age, establishing a quota for women candidates, permitting voters to cast their ballots in their place of residence, and, ensuring that serving cabinet members don’t double as legislators.

She showed video clips on a satirical campaign mocking politicians’ hollow promises, a spot on the divisiveness of sectarianism, the symbiotic relationship between the media and politicians, and how Lebanese youth view their elected officials.

Abu-Fadil also stressed the importance of being able to decypher government budgets and how public funds are spent.

A common thread at the forum was learning all about the candidates, their programs, the parties involved, campaign promises, policies, electoral rules and procedures, the vote counting process, surveys, and security measures.

Amman conferees discuss elections coverage in their countries

Amman conferees discuss elections coverage in their countries

The two-day seminar in November 2013 grouped Jordanian journalists who had attended training workshops on elections coverage with counterparts from Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine and Iraq who had covered elections in their own countries as well as regionally and internationally.

Mai Shams El Din discusses Egypt's elections

Mai Shams El Din discusses Egypt’s elections

It was funded by the European Union and organized by UNESCO‘s Amman office .

UNESCO project manager Rut Gomez Sobrino and EU's Patricia Pennetier

UNESCO project manager Rut Gomez Sobrino and EU’s Patricia Pennetier

Lebanese Journalists Trained to Cover Corruption Issues

Media are NGOs’ partners in the fight against corruption, experts told Lebanese journalists at a workshop in Beirut.

Media have played a key role in uncovering Arab leaders’ corruption, according to Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network’s Non-Governmental Group coordinator.

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi explains partnership between NGOs and media

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi explains partnership between NGOs and media

He addressed 10 journalists from print, broadcast and online media who attended the training as part of a conference organized by the UN Development Program (UNDP), ACIAC and the Lebanese Justice Ministry.

The April workshop also featured academic Khalil Gebara who asked rhetorically if there was a political will in Lebanon to fight corruption.

Journalists at anti-corruption workshop

Journalists at anti-corruption workshop

“Why aren’t corruption issues on the list of government priorities?” he said.

Dr. Khalil Gebara

Dr. Khalil Gebara

Lead trainer and Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil walked the journalists through the definitions of corruption and how media can play an increasingly important role as watchdogs in the post-Arab Spring environment.

She also briefed them on international standards of investigative journalism and their application to corruption in the Arab world.

Magda Abu-Fadil shows links between anti-corruption coverage and investigative journalism

Magda Abu-Fadil shows links between anti-corruption coverage and investigative journalism

Another key component is media ethics and its importance in reporting on corruption, she said.

Abu-Fadil also focused on the vital role played by social media and how best to utilize them.

Participants provided a list of recommendations, which UNDP’s Regional Communications Specialist Rut Gomez Sobrino hopes to translate into an action plan.

Lebanese journalists, Rut Gomez Sobrino and Abu-Fadil at anti-corruption workshop

Lebanese journalists, Rut Gomez Sobrino and Abu-Fadil at anti-corruption workshop