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As the sun stretches over the Arab world, crises unfold.

cairo1

But are these stories being told? Do we hear the voices, see the needs, realize the consequences.

Read this report by Jeff Ghannam, a veteran in telling us about the role of the media in the Arab world – especially social media.

Here is a quote:

“But for all the attention to the scale of the tragedy, the kinds of information needed by the victims is often lost. To listen to Nabil Al Khatib, executive editor of Saudiowned Al Arabiya, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the human stories in the conflicts are buried under the daily tallies of those killed. “This is a lost story,” he says. “You will find that most reporters are reporting in a general way. It leads to boring reporting and it leads to people being detached from news,” Al Khatib says. “This is one of the biggest challenges, and it can only be resolved by training. I started my TV reporting career covering Palestine, Israel, and Jordan and my biggest issue was how to continue reporting from a humanitarian point of view and focus on individuals. Individual stories are always unique and people would like to hear them.” He says reporters covering the migrant crisis for the network in Europe were senior correspondents based in the region. While not all were trained in covering crises from a humanitarian point of view, the network devoted significant resources for special reports from Europe, tracking the migrant crisis with live reports, which Al Khatib points to with great pride as a journalistic, logistic, and operational success. Still, he says, training and raising awareness among the rank and file are needed to produce stories about the wars’ impact on humanity. “If you try to check how many humanitarian stories there are about Syrians stuck in Syria, you will see very few reports,” Al Khatib says. “The [civilians] are not being covered, the fighters are being covered. This is what the news agencies are looking for, they buy this footage from fixers who just learned how to use a video camera. A rocket was shot from here, a child got killed from here…..”

Media in a time of crisis

Gamal Eid has been a voice of hope for journalists across the Arab world. His struggle has been a struggle to bring respect for law and human right to journalism, and respect for the work that Arab journalists do.

Here’s a plea and a compelling statement from here. Please share your thoughts.

القاهرة – في 20 أبريل سيقرر ثلاثة قضاة بإحدى محاكم القاهرة هل سيسمحون للنيابة أن تواصل قضيتها ضدي ومتهم آخر هو الصحفي والمدافع الحقوقي حسام بهجت، في إطار هجمة الحكومة المستمرة ضد المنظمات غير الحكومية المستقلة في مصر أم لا.

القضية ضدي تستهدفني بسبب دوري في تأسيس الشبكة العربية لمعلومات حقوق الإنسان، التي تهدف الى توعية الجمهور المصري بحقوقه المدنية وحقوق الإنسان. أما بالنسبة لحسام بهجت، المعروف بأن صحافته الاستقصائية تهز الحكومة، فإن القضية ضده تركز على أنشطة المنظمة التي أسسها، وهي المبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية.

لقد خصّونا دون غيرنا لأن منظمتينا تقومان بتوفير دعم قوي لمن يتعرض لانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان في مصر. فقد دافعنا عن ضحايا التعذيب من مختلف الأطياف: إخوان مسلمين، ليبراليين، يساريين، ضحايا الاعتقال العشوائي، وحتى مؤيدي النظام. لقد دافعنا عن فكرة أن حقوق الإنسان هي للجميع بغض النظر عن الأيديولوجية، وأن الحقوق المدنية مكفولة لكل المواطنين بغض النظر عن خلفيتهم أو ثروتهم أو نفوذهم.

هذا الأسبوع سوف يقرر القضاة كذلك ما إذا يحق للنيابة أن تفرض علينا غلق المكاتب، والمنع من السفر، وتجميد الأرصدة، وتوجيه اتهامات جنائية. وإذا حكمت المحكمة بذلك، فسيكون هذا بمثابة قيام الحكومة المصرية ليس فقط بغلق المنظمات المستهدفة حاليا، بل كل المؤسسات غير التابعة للدولة والمستقلة عن الأجهزة الأمنية، والتي تتبنى موقفا ناقدا لانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان.

الاتهامات الموجهة لنا هي أن نشاطاتنا تسيء لسمعة مصر، وأن مؤسساتنا أُسست خارج إطار القانون الخاص بالمنظمات غير الحكومية، وأننا نتلقى تمويلا من الخارج لدعم الإرهاب. هذه الاتهامات لا أساس لها، وإذا كانت محاكمتنا قانونية وليست سياسية فسنثبت ذلك.

مهما كانت درجة غموض هذه القضية، إلا أن الرسالة المقصودة منها واضحة: هكذا ينوي نظام الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي المدعوم من الجيش أن يقضي على آخر ما تبقى من المنظمات المدنية المستقلة في البلاد.

النظم السلطوية بشكل عام معادية لمجتمع مدني قوي. ومصر ليست استثناء. إلا أننا تحت حكم الرئيس حسني مبارك قمنا ببناء مجتمع مدني ناقد ومستقل بالرغم من المضايقات الروتينية من جانب الحكومة. وفي تلك الفترة كانت الشرطة قادرة على إغلاق المنظمات، ولكن نادرا ما كان يتم إغلاق المنظمات بشكل نهائي، ويكاد يكون حبس الموظفين أمرا لم نسمع به من قبل.

لكن الأمور بعد مرور 5 سنوات على سقوط مبارك تغيرت تماما. وإن كان لدى مبارك القدر الكافي من الثقة ليترك الجماعات المستقلة تعمل خارج سيطرة الدولة، فالسيسي يفتقر الى هذه الثقة بالنفس.

المجتمع المدني ضروري في بلد كمصر لأن هذه المجموعات الحقوقية يمكن أن تلعب دور الوسيط في حالات التوتر والصراع. وهذا الدور في أوقات الأزمات يكون حيويا. في عام 2011، عندما خرج الملايين منا الى الشوارع للاحتجاج ضد النظام المباركي، يرجع الفضل الى جماعات مثلنا بجانب النقابات العمالية والمؤسسات المهنية والجمعيات الخيرية في إحداث تغيير حاسم في المحصلة النهائية: توفير الأسس لكي تظل تلك التظاهرات سلمية وبناءة، بينما إخواننا وأخواتنا في سوريا وليبيا لم يحالفهم الحظ، إذ تحولت الاحتجاجات هناك بسرعة الى نزاع مسلح لافتقاد مجتمع مدني يوفر هذه الأسس.

بعد الإطاحة بمبارك عملت مجموعات مثلنا على ترجمة المشكلات المزمنة والاحتياجات التي طال انتظارها الى مطالب قابلة للتطبيق، وعملت أيضا على ضمان أن تبقى تلك المطالب الشعبية ضمن المفاوضات السياسية. وفي عام 2011، على سبيل المثال، أطلقتْ منظمتي مبادرة شارك فيها المئات من القضاة والمحامين وضباط الشرطة والصحفيين وغيرهم في محاولة لإصلاح وزارة الداخلية، التي كانت مخيفة آنذاك. وقمنا بعقد دورات تدريبية لضباط الشرطة في أكاديمية الشرطة وتشاورنا مع مسؤولين في الوزارة.

وللأسف تم عرقلة مشروعنا مع وزارة الداخلية في نهاية المطاف من قبل الأطراف التي لا تريد الإصلاح. وقد تغير كل شيء بالفعل مع وصول السيسي الى السلطة في عام 2013، وبدأ عهد جديد أكثر قمعا.

أولا، تم الاعتداء على الجمعيات الخيرية للإخوان المسلمين، وأعقب ذلك إغلاق مؤسسات ثقافية مستقلة. واستمر نظام السيسي في إغلاق ومحاكمة قطاع واسع من المنظمات غير الحكومية التي كانت تنادي بالرعاية الصحية والتعليم وحرية الصحافة والإصلاح الديمقراطي والحكم الرشيد. ولئن كان البعض، مثل منظمتي، منتقدا بشكل صريح للسياسة الرسمية، فإن الكثيرين آثروا البقاء بعيدا عن السياسة وكرسوا جهودهم لتقديم الخدمات الأساسية التي أهملت الحكومة في توفيرها.

اليوم أصبحنا قليلين للغاية. ونحن نعلم أنه بدون دور الوساطة الذي تلعبه المؤسسات المدنية المستقلة، يمكن للخلاف الاجتماعي العادي أن يتحول بسهولة الى صراع قومي. فالأقوياء يمكن أن يستغلوا الخلافات العادية بين الجماعات والمجموعات العرقية والطبقات الاجتماعية والزج بهم نحو سياسة القوة الغاشمة. وعندما يحدث ذلك في بلد تحت نظام سلطوي يتحول المجال والواقع العام بأكمله الى لعبة لا بد فيها من خاسر بين من يملكون السلطة شبه المطلقة وأولئك الذين أصبحت حقوقهم الأساسية في خطر.

نظام السيسي يواجه تحديات أكبر بكثير من تلك التي كانت تواجه مبارك في أواخر أيام حكمه، خاصة في ظل اقتصاد يتردى، وحرب طاحنة لمكافحة التطرف في سيناء، وتفشي حالة واسعة من عدم الرضا الشعبي. من الصعب أن نتصور الحكومة الحالية تواجه هذه الأزمات على عدة جبهات بدون الاعتماد على الأساس الصلب الذي توفره منظمات المجتمع المدني. ولذلك يبدو هجوم السيسي على المجتمع المدني قصير النظر جدا.

إذا خسرنا جولة هذا الأسبوع من معركتنا القانونية، فقد تأخذ حياتي الشخصية منعطفا مؤلما. لكن الشعب المصري هو الذي سيتحمل العبء الأكبر، لأنه قريبا سيفتقد الحماية التي تحول بينه وبين دولة تنهار.

جمال عيد، محامي مصري ومدير الشبكة العربية لمعلومات حقوق الإنسان.gamal eid

Peace Journalism-Arabic

Peace Journalism is journalism that reports on conflicts and crises.

Here are some guidelines in English and Arabic – click on the PDF

Are these possible? Let’s talk

Before you finish your reporting, ask these questions:

 

  • Is this news necessary? Does it tell both sides of the situation?
  • Will this news story lead to violence, prejudice, or community distrust of negotiators for peace? If so, can you tell this story in a different way?
  • Do you have different voices and different opinions in your reporting?
  • Do you talk to the people, whose lives have been affected by the situation? Or did you only talk to experts and government officials?
  • Do you use words or scenes or narratives that will offend people or cause more strife or conflict? How can you avoid doing this?

Explaining conflicts and crises:

Ask yourself these questions as you report:

  • What are the causes of the conflict?
  • What do the different sides believe? What separates them? What do they have in common?
  • What is the history of the conflict according to the different sides? What is the bigger picture?
  • Who are the major individuals and groups involved?
  • How has the crisis or conflict evolved over time? Provide a time line.
  • What solutions have been heard? What do you know about the reality of these solutions? Explore the options considered by the different groups. What options are likely to bring about peace or healing?
  • What steps are needed to reconcile past problems?
  • Are there proposals for temporary solutions?
  • What are the major obstacles to peace or healing?
  • Suggestion: treat the emotions as symptoms of the crisis? How?

 

peace

Suggested rules for your reporting

 

Do not just talk to leaders and officials.

Do not tell only about one’s side suffering and problems. Tell the whole story of all involved.

Do not repeat the words or statements of leaders without offering you own explanation of their meaning and the facts.

Do not downplay or ignore efforts to reach a solution

Do not use words that inflame and stir hatred or images

Do not report on rumors or gossip without giving the full context.

Find out the facts about rumors or gossips that appears to add fuel to the conflict or crisis. Let your reporting explain the facts behind the rumors. Explain who may be behind the rumors and what they have to gain.

Let your news outlet become a source for filtering rumors and gossip on a timely basis. Create a website that responds to these forces that drive the public.

Add documents and other resources to your website to educate your audience on all of the issues involved

Do not ignore the suffering or problems. Show that you are presenting a whole picture of the past and of what has happened to all sides. But don’t let that become the whole story.

 

Show the impact of violence or problems in the past. Explain what might happens if these issues continue in the future.

Conflicts are complex. Avoid simple descriptions of the causes.

Show the humanity of the people involved and on all sides

  • You should remember that your reporting will affect the conflict and the lives of people in it. How can you monitor this?

Avoid being used by one side or the other and to report – and if you can, avid attempts to use your reporting to figure one side or to continue the conflict.

 

A Basic Reminder

Do what is possible. Do not cross redlines that will cause problems for your and your news organization or your family. Move slowly forward with your news reporting. Do not rush into problems that will halt your reporting. Stay focused on what you can tell honestly and completely and what matters.

This is a collection taken from many reports and studies by organizations across the globe involved in better reporting on peace and justice and conflict resolution. Steve Youngblood’s work has been especially important. Please share your work and advice.

Stephen.franklin6@gmail.com

 

 

 

http://www.alhayat.com/Opinion/Jamal-Khashoggi/13162847/لماذا-ننهض-بالسعودية-لغير-السعوديين؟

from Jamal Khashoggi

I have been affected by the Arab Spring. Some criticize me for calling it a “historical inevitability,” as if by attacking the Spring we can put an end to it. My problem began after what happened in Egypt in the summer of 2013. I have been losing friends since. I did not call it a coup – I believe the military regained a power it had held for 1,000 years. Maybe they were not friends, as a real friend cannot be lost just because your opinions differ.

Some also claim I misled them because I portrayed myself as a liberal but did not welcome the “popular revolution” that brought down the Muslim Brotherhood. I was unable to convince them that my stand is based on the principles of freedom and democracy, because they are the best solutions for Arab states that have failed due to military rule.

Some said my enthusiasm for the Egyptian revolution of Jan. 2011 was due to me being a latent supporter of the Brotherhood. The numerous articles in which I have criticized the Brotherhood and blamed it for the collapse of democracy did not change their opinion.

An editor-in-chief at a prominent newspaper disapproved that I applauded the Friday sermon by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in Tahrir Square a week after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. I was astounded by the symbolism of the moment, and considered it a sign of the rise of freedom of expression in Egypt. However, the editor-in-chief only saw the Brotherhood in this picture.

He wrote an article entitled “The deceivers,” in which he said I had fooled him and others because they knew me as a liberal. He, who was supposed to be a friend, was unable to understand that liberalism is for everyone, and if applied selectively will no longer be liberal. The holder of a free pen defends principles and refuses to be restricted.

I wrote articles in which I urged stable Arab countries to help their neighbors, and called for an Arab Marshall Plan. “You want a Marshall Plan to support the Muslim Brotherhood,” replied a colleague in an article in the same newspaper, who is proud to support non-transparent rule and describes his position as courageous and noble.

In the Arab world, everyone thinks journalists cannot be independent, but I represent myself. What would I be worth if I succumbed to pressure to change my opinions?

Jamal Khashoggi

A few weeks ago, my friend Nawaf Obeid admonished me, saying: “You need to write an article in which you confirm that you are not a supporter of the Brotherhood.” I replied: “Whatever I say, I’ll never convince those who suffer from Brotherhood-phobia. They say I support this party because I criticize their favorite regime. Do that and you too will be accused of being a Brotherhood supporter.”

Journalistic independence

In the Arab world, everyone thinks journalists cannot be independent, but I represent myself, which is the right thing to do. What would I be worth if I succumbed to pressure to change my opinions? The atmosphere of freedom must be preserved, and I am happy that my government is doing so. A public meeting I had with a group of youths in Riyadh to discuss the volatile regional environment was recorded and broadcast online without any curtailment.

That was the best cure for the articles that were attacking me and the friends who were abandoning me. I talked to the youths for more than two hours, and answered their questions freely. I felt then that the world cannot bring down someone who is free on the inside. I want to be free, to think freely and write freely. I am free to do so.

This article was first published in al-Hayat on Dec. 26, 2015.

_________________

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels. Twitter: @JKhashoggi

Last Update: Wednesday, 30 December 2015 KSA 08:08 – GMT 05:08

Unknownhttp://video.videolicious.com/bcc9b5a0-6418-47e7-945b-1d8a1a820d8c

Khartoum, SUDAN – There’s the story about the children and their schooling. The story about the young girls and their future. And the stories about rebuilding calm after so many years without any, and rebuilding the bonds that tie Sudan together.

These are the stories we talked about, among all else, here in Khartoum.

 

As Egyptians tried to shake loose nearly thirty years of darkness, the Egyptian press stumbled toward the sunlight, too. The early results portend vast journalistic shifts, and maybe not just in Egypt.

Egypt’s media have long been dominated by the state, as is true in much of the Arab world today. Egyptian journalists at the state-run outlets have traditionally been blind to the most pressing news while casting former president Hosni Mubarak as the people’s Pharaoh. Journalists who dared to touch taboo issues faced prison or heavy fines. News outlets that offended the regime were simply shut down. Independent bloggers were harassed and hounded by government-paid thugs.

It came as no surprise that when Al Jazeera, the fifteen-year-old Qatar-based outlet, defied threats and continued saturation reporting of the January 25th uprising, its Egyptian satellite signal was cut, its license pulled, and some of its journalists arrested. But Al Jazeera and its more conservative competitor, Dubai-based Al Arabiya, persevered. Along with a group of fearless bloggers and social media users, they cemented their place as the alternative to the state-run media’s lies.

In so doing, they underscored the necessity of honest, fearless reporting as a prerequisite for democratic change. The strongest message from Tahrir Square to journalists from Riyadh to Rabat is that stories that speak the truth carry the most power.

As the Mubarak regime’s shackles began to slip, Egyptian media reports began to change dramatically as journalists discovered their voices and consciences. Al Masry al Youm (Egypt Today), one of the country’s fledgling independent newspapers and a frequent regime critic, reported accounts of government thugs staging lootings. It challenged state media for spreading a “culture of fear” and conspiracy theories about Israeli-trained protestors. Journalists at Al Ahram, the government’s main mouthpiece, and at Rose al Youssef, another state-run paper, held demonstrations at their offices decrying corruption in journalism and lack of professionalism.

Some high-profile state television journalists took leaves of absence in protest of orders from on high to continue broadcasting propaganda. Shahira Amin, a prominent presenter, resigned. She told Al Jazeera’s English language service that she couldn’t “feed the public a pack of lies.”

While the upheaval’s fate was still unclear, Mohammed Ali Ibrahim, editor of Al Gomhouriya, a major state-run newspaper, addressed the protestors in a front-page column, saying, “We apologize for not hearing you, and if we heard you, for not paying attention to your demands.”

His apology was noted in Al Ahram’s English-language weekly, which also called out the state-run news media’s “reliance on exaggeration or outright lies” and refusal to tell the protestors’ stories. (Al Ahram didn’t mention its own record.)

This newfound honesty was only able to flourish after a path had been cleared both by journalists and social media users who risked their lives openly defying the government. Despite beatings and arrests, many journalists and bloggers persisted, bolstering morale by churning out ground-level accounts of critical events.

Twitter and the like became electronic megaphones, delivering both practical news (what streets were safe, where medics were needed) as well as charting participants’ emotions as they raced between elation, despair and, ultimately, absolute joy. Unlike failed protest drives by more established groups, youth-driven Facebook pages assembled thousands of supporters online and united disparate sectors of the eighty-million-person nation.

Just as the Tunisian upheaval inspired Egypt’s protestors, Arab journalists cannot ignore what happened in Egypt, the most populous Arab country. Although much of the region’s news media live under the thumb of the government, political parties, religious groups, or others who think they own the truth, Egypt has shown that it does not always have to be thus.

Online news operations have sprouted, angering and frustrating authorities in places like Kuwait and Jordan. Young Arab journalists are showing new daring in their reporting, and are coordinating across the region.

Arab journalists face great challenges even beyond government bullying: low pay, low respect, and editors too timid to make changes. As Egypt’s upheaval was evolving, Hisham Kassem, Al Masry al Youm’s first editor, likened the state-run media’s performance to a “crash-landing.” Speaking from Cairo, he said honest news coverage was gathering steam, but was not yet surging because editors didn’t know what lay ahead.

But the morning after Mubarak resigned, Al Ahram editors saw the future and rose to embrace it. They greeted readers with a stunning, bright red headline flared across its front page: THE PEOPLE OVERTHROW THE REGIME.

http://www.cjr.org/reports/sunrise_on_the_nile.php?page=all&print=true

Just as the post above says, this is a great change in Tunisia and maybe the first  ever that passed through the hands of the Internet.

Follow the blog below:

http://nawaat.org/portail/

Crossing Cairo – Night-time and the taxi driver, peering at the talled traffic ahead, lights a cigarette, apologizes and says he needs it. He says he is tired.

“Why. A lot work?”

“I work two jobs.”

“Why two?

“Because my day-job with a company is not enough. Not any more. I drive here six, seven night a week and it is still not enough.”

“What do you mean?”

“I cannot pay my bills. I cannot buy meat more than once a week. A year ago it was better. Two years ago even better. Now nothing. Nothing. I work and I have nothing. I work and three of us at home work. And what, what is there to show? Nothing. And I am tired.”

Rumbling forward in fits in his small ramshackle, time-weary taxi-antique, I glance over in the dim lighting at the middle-aged driver with a deep furrow across his forehead, a thin balding man who swims in the old wrinkled grey sport-coat he is wearing, and I wonder.

Why don’t I read about him and all the others who are struggling here and across the Middle East? Where are the stories about people whose small businesses have collapsed, who have lost their gambles on stock markets that vanished like sand coming across the desert? As of today, stock markets across the Middle East have lost half of their value in only a few months.

Where are the stories about the university graduates working in the local stories so they can get by; the stories about the young middle-class workers whose savings disappeared when the inflation roared up to 20 percent and who could no longer pay their bills? About the workers sent home from lucrative jobs elsewhere?

I don’t see them day in and day out in the newspaper or on the television. I don’t see any word about them except when there are explosions of despair: marches or strikes and when a government official says as bad as it seems things will get better. When? And how? This is what I am looking for in the newspaper, but it is not there.

But it is here in the Cairo night, stalled and going nowhere.

By Daoud Kuttab

photo by Kim Badawi. http://www.digitalrailroad.net/kimbadawi

<!–

 

–>

March, 2008.  There is no doubt that the proliferation of Arabic language satellite stations is causing a lot of waves in the Arab world. Seen innocently, the need for some type of regulatory process makes sense. But the Arab League members with the exception of Lebanon and Qatar were not innocently trying to ban pornography or violent programming from Arabs’ television screens.  Nor is their most recent resolution trying to curtail the content of Arab satellite stations an attempt to create an Arab version of the American FCC.  It is no short of an attempt to control the minds and thoughts of Arab viewers, mostly on political issues.

The Arab League is a voluntary organization of Arab countries that has some moral authority but no binding power. Until recently, the only regular meeting that occurred like a Swiss watch was the meeting of Arab interior ministers. The leaders of Arab intelligence and security forces met regularly to plan and coordinate actions that protected their own regimes as well as the interests of their international allies, most prominently the United States.
 

For an precise view, once again, of what has been happening in the Egyptian press. Read what Salama A. Salama says:

It is hard to understand the current crisis without looking at the professional situation of journalists themselves. For years, the state has tried to tame them. Using a mixture of carrot-and-stick methods, the government bought loyalties and ultimately succeeded in weakening the independence of the press. No wonder journalists were so divided during the recent crisis.

So, too, read Baheya’s long explanation.

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