IFJ-UNESCO Workshop Develops University Safety Training in Jordan

The IFJ and UNESCO – Beirut Office launched yesterday a workshop to develop a safety curriculum for universities in the Arab World and Middle East in cooperation with the Jordanian Media Institute (JMI) and the Jordanian Press Association. The three day workshop will discuss a draft safety curriculum with ten media school lecturers from the region.

In line with IFJ and UNESCO safety working programme, this first workshop will review a draft safety curriculum and lesson plans to be developed into a fully accredited academic course to be taught in universities across the Arab world and the Middle East.

“Providing safety skills and knowledge to media students is crucial to building a culture of safety for media in the region”, said Abedlnasser Najjar, IFJ Executive Committee member, media lecturer in Palestinian universities and one of the participants in the workshop. “This is yet another leading initiative taken by the IFJ and partners to strengthen the safety of journalists in one of the most difficult regions in the world. It will increase awareness among younger generations of journalists to the risks associated with reporting in dangerous zones which is crucial to their survival.”

In 2011 the IFJ launched an extensive safety training programme for journalists in the region which included a Training of Trainers programme. Since then, the IFJ and its affiliates have trained up to 1500 journalists in some of the most dangerous countries in the world for them.

“UNESCO is the only UN agency entrusted with supporting Freedom of Expression,” said George Awad, programme officer at UNESCO Beirut office. “Through its communication and information sector, UNESCO initiated a safety of journalists’ action plan that was then adopted by the United Nations system in 2012. Since then UNESCO is leading the UN efforts in putting this plan into action, working with member states, media institutions and civil societies on legal, infrastructure and capacity building frameworks“.

“Moreover, as a leader in Education, it was a normal step for UNESCO to work with the academic sector to institutionalize the safety of journalists’ resources and trainings into the curriculum.”

Princess Rym al Ali, the founder of JMI, joined the workshop as a guest speaker and shared her experience in reporting from conflict zones including her work as CNN correspondent in Baghdad in 2001-2004. She stressed the importance of providing training and protection for local journalists and freelancers covering conflicts.

Participants include international experts and lecturers from universities in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Jordan. The curriculum has been drafted by Clare Arthurs, an Australian-based media trainer, safety expert and media lecturer and reviewed by Magda Abu Fadel, a journalist and media trainer. This programme has been supported by the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs and the Government of Sweden.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries