Abu-Fadil Launches Arabic Online Media Ethics Guide at MSF14

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil launched the Arabic Online Media Ethics Guide at a conference in Lebanon aimed at creating awareness about digital freedom and responsibility.

Charbel El Kareh listens as Abu-Fadil launches the guide

Charbel El Kareh listens as Abu-Fadil launches the guide

She presented the guide at the Media Studies Forum MSF14 at Lebanon’s Notre Dame University (NDU) which faculty member/journalist Rouba El Helou translated from a similar booklet edited by Andrea Gallo, a student at Louisiana State University.

Arabic Online Media Ethics Guide

Arabic Online Media Ethics Guide

It was well timed in May 2014 with the forum’s theme, “Ethics of Digital Media and Online Knowledge Production.”

Abu-Fadil raised issues like misattribution of sources, manipulation of visual content and accepting gifts during a panel entitled “Online Media Freedom and Ethics.”

Abu-Fadil and El-Helou at MSF14

Abu-Fadil and El Helou at MSF14

She showed a report that was the top story on a Lebanese TV newscast of a woman committing suicide by jumping off a balcony while her husband filmed it on his mobile phone to jolt the forum’s audience and sensitize participating students to what is and isn’t acceptable.

Since videos and photos can easily be manipulated, Abu-Fadil made a point of demonstrating how Tungstène, the fake photo finder used by Agence France-Presse, and other software can detect inaccurate visual data.

The Verification Handbook was another excellent resource to which she referred.

Screen shot of Verification Handbook

Abu-Fadil pointed to the dangers of “remixing,” what the code of best practice for fair use is, and what the School of Communication at her alma mater, American University in Washington, DC, did to explain it in a very handy video.

MU Director at Digital Boot Camp: Media Laws & Ethics Are Key

Digital skills for journalists and activists are required for success in today’s world, but a key component is knowledge of media laws and ethics to protect oneself and avoid problems.

Amr Eleraqi shows journalists, activists how to use interactive tools

Amr Eleraqi shows journalists, activists how to use interactive tools

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil provided tips and reviewed legislation from countries represented by journalists and activists who attended the “Building a Digital Gateway to Better Lives” boot camp in Amman, Jordan.

Abu-Fadil provided a tour d’horizon of current and proposed legislation affecting print, broadcast and online media in the participants’ home countries.

Print and online media laws in Jordan explained

Print and online media laws in Jordan explained

She underlined common problems like various forms of censorship, harsh licensing procedures, penalties and legislators’ lack of understanding of what and who journalists are in the 21st Century.

Another crucial issue in the multimedia world is ethics for bloggers and what defines ethical behavior is an otherwise fluid landscape where platforms and tools converge.

Abu-Fadil showed jarring footage disseminated via social media of what she said was unethical conduct and complemented it with case studies of how traditional media handled, or mishandled, news coverage.

Trainees engaged in animated discussions on what constitutes ethics, how to define privacy, whether doctored or misleading photos and videos should be published, sourcing and attribution ground rules, and, a host of issues plaguing bloggers.

Abu-Fadil explains nuances of sourcing ground rules

Abu-Fadil explains nuances of sourcing ground rules

Other trainers at the five-day boot camp helped participants with live coverage for events, using interactive tools to enhance websites, creative storytelling with video, advanced safety for journalists, and building an effective presence on social media.

Veteran Egyptian journalist Abeer Saady's advice on personal safety

Veteran Egyptian journalist Abeer Saady’s advice on personal safety

The training, held at the Jordan Media Institute, was organized by the Washington-based International Center for Journalists in August 2013 and grouped participants from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco and Iraq.