Is It Time to Teach Media and Information Literacy (MIL)?

A rhetorical question Al Ain TV (UAE) asked in a post to introduce an interview with Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil.

MU Director Magda Abu-Fadil discusses MIL on Al Ain TV

Abu-Fadil, the lead editor and co-author of “Opportunities for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in the Middle East and North Africa,” spoke of the importance of incorporating MIL in curricula, of promoting critical thinking, and of reinforcing awareness to combat online hate speech and fake news.

Opportunities for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in the Middle East and North Africa

The book, in English and Arabic, was funded by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and UNESCO and published by Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The interview in Arabic can be viewed here.

 

MU Director on Cover of UAE Media Mag

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil made it on the cover of “Al I3lam wal 3sr” (Media and Era), a United Arab Emirates monthly magazine focused on media issues.

Cover of Al I3lam wal 3sr includes MU director

Cover of Al I3lam wal 3sr includes MU director

The wide-ranging interview in the magazine’s March issue shed light on Abu-Fadil’s career in print, broadcast and online media, as well as her stint in academia and her take on media ethics, social networks, and how to re-purpose oneself as a journalist.

A PDF of the Al I3lam wal 3sr article can be downloaded here.

MU Leads UAE Investigative Journalism Training

Over 50 UAE-based journalists feel better equipped to tackle investigative assignments after two intensive courses conducted by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil.

“As a general introduction to investigative journalism, procedures and information, it was suitable, but for implementation, one needs more time, which we hope to get (in the future),” said one of the participants.

Abu Dhabi Investigative Journalism Group

It was an eye opener for reporters and editors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, who attended workshops in November 2012 aimed at sharpening their skills in what is known as data-driven journalism.

The workshop focused on ethics in investigative journalism, ideas for topics to cover, digging for information, use of documents and numbers, and, computer-assisted reporting.

Abu-Fadil explains investigative reporting elements in Abu Dhabi

Reporters and editors from various newspapers and media-related fields attending the  course also learned how to combine text with visuals and how to incorporate social media in their projects.

Abu-Fadil in Dubai describes blogs' uses in investigative journalism

The training was organized courtesy of the UAE Journalists Association, the U.S. Embassy in the UAE and the telecommunications company Etisalat.

Dubai Investigative Journalism Workshop Trainer & Trainees

“I benefited on a personal and professional level from this workshop that will have an impact on my work,” said Mohammad Abdel Rasheed from the daily Al Bayan.

Both groups viewed the Watergate scandal classic “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman to get a taste of old-fashioned investigative reporting techniques.

MU Empowers UAE WAM Journalists With New Skills

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil spent two weeks in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, respectively, with journalists of the United Arab Emirates’ WAM news agency to help them upgrade their skills

The training included best practices for news agencies, the integration of social media and the importance of media ethics.

The first week of workshops in September 2012 was at WAM headquarters and involved morning sessions with one group from the Arabic desk, with mentoring in the afternoon inside the newsrooms of the Arabic and English desks.

WAM workshop opening in Abu Dhabi with U.S. Ambassador Michael Corbin

The second week grouped journalists from the other emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain, Ajman, Fujairah and Um Al Qaiwain.

The U.S. Embassy in the UAE and the Emirates’ National Media Council (NMC) organized the workshops which were opened in Abu Dhabi by Ambassador Michael Corbin and NMC Director General Ibrahim Al Abed.

Tunisian Media Aren’t Quite Free Yet

“It all seemed so promising.

Tunisia rid itself of the shackles that had choked it for 23 years under the oppressive rule of Zine El Abdine Ben Ali and the media started breathing easier when journalists, bloggers and activists of all stripes made up for lost time with a vengeance.

But since that unforgettable December 2010 when Mohammad Bouazizi set himself ablaze to protest being roughed up by a policewoman and died of his burns, it’s been a bumpy ride for Tunisian media and there was still no light at the end of the tunnel at press-time.”

The rest of this article by Magda Abu-Fadil is available in the scholarly journal Middle East Media Educator (MEME) edited by Dr. Alma Alma Kadragic, Director, New Programs in Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Wollongong in Dubai, UAE.

Dr. Alma Kadragic, MEME's editor

The journal “aims to bridge the gap between media educators and practitioners.”

MEME, which is eclectic in its editorial policy, is the first such journal in the Middle East, and strives to encourage dialogue between industry and academe in a region where informed analysis of the media is not widespread.

Downloadable PDFs of the journal are available on this Media Unlimited page.