ICFJ and Meta Launch Journalism Ethics Training in the Middle East and North Africa

Journalists and newsrooms across the Middle East and North Africa will have the opportunity to strengthen their reporting on critical issues, such as gender, child safety, and extremism, as part of an ethics training run by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) with support from the Meta Journalism Project.

The Journalism Ethics in the Middle East and North Africa program is open to journalists and newsrooms across the region and they can sign up now for the webinars which will run through March 11, 2022.

The six-week training will be conducted in Arabic and led by Abeer Saady, a researcher and journalist with nearly three decades of experience. The online sessions will cover a range of salient topics, including:

  • Dealing with vulnerable communities
  • Hate speech and ethical dilemmas
  • Ethical reporting on extremism and violence
  • Gender issues and online threats
  • Covering sensitive issues

The first webinar, titled Ethical Reporting on Vulnerable Communities, took place on Feb 10. Abeer Saady started the training by answering an open question regarding the need for ethical standards in dealing with vulnerable groups and said that "Journalists should not harm," especially when it comes to specific groups. Throughout the two-hour session, participants were introduced to best practices in dealing with minors and children, persons with disabilities, mental health problems, general health problems, survivors and families of victims and immigrants and refugees, including labor migrants. The training also included various case studies to enable the participants to understand the different ethical breaches and issues related to reporting via recent examples from the MENA region.

Join the Meta Journalism Project Arabic Group on Facebook to watch the webinar recordings and to receive updates related to the program from ICFJ.

In addition, a select group of media outlets and program participants will be invited to take part in three virtual discussions examining current journalistic practices and how they can be improved to cover sensitive issues. Each conversation will be moderated by media professionals with extensive experience reporting in the region.

"In the Middle East and North Africa, opportunities like this for the reporters in our network have drawn thousands of participants, showing just how much demand there is for journalism training in the region," said Johanna Carrillo, vice president of programs for ICFJ. "Through this initiative, we're helping equip journalists with the knowledge and skills to better report on critical issues, such as child welfare, gender, and extremism - topics that require care and are essential to cover."

"Based on a survey that we conducted with more than 25 news industry executives across the region, the top priorities for the MENA newsrooms this year are connecting with their readers online, expanding their audiences, digitizing their operations, and diversifying their revenue streams. Meta's mission is to build community and bring people closer together through the power of news. Through this program, journalists in the MENA region have the opportunity to enhance their reporting on critical issues as part of an ethics training run by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) with support from the Meta Journalism Project. Our goal is to ensure that people and publishers both have access to quality journalism and communities that matter most to them on and off Meta" said Mohamed Omar, News Partnerships Manager, Middle East, and North Africa at Meta.

At the end of the program, ICFJ will release a journalism ethics toolkit in Arabic that journalists and newsrooms across the region can use to support their reporting.

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