Building capacities for conflict-sensitive reporting and enhanced journalists´ safety in the West Bank and Gaza
UNESCO Ramallah – with funds mobilized through the International Programme for the Development of Communication and an agreement between UNESCO and Canal International - is supporting training on conflict-sensitive reporting and safety in the West Bank and Gaza. UNESCO´s partner in these efforts is MAAN Network, furthering past cooperation that sought to enhance skills and distribute equipment to ensure the safety of Palestinian media professionals.
Conflict-sensitive reporting “is rooted in the belief that the news media in many societies can
be a powerful force to reduce the causes of conflict and to enable a conflict-stressed society to
better pursue conflict resolution”, states Ross Howard, author of the UNESCO publication Conflict-sensitive reporting: state of the art; a course for journalists and journalism educators, one of the learning-tools that will be used in this training targeting 40 journalists in the West Bank and Gaza.
A study published by MADA in 2011, which was commissioned by UNESCO, highlights how the internal political division in Palestine impacts on media coverage. This in turn fuels the polarization along party lines, negatively impacting on freedom of expression. Moreover, it contributes to the loss of credibility of local media as independent information providers. In light of this situation, promoting conflict-sensitive reporting on the internal socio-political context is of special relevance in Palestine.
Moreover, taking into account that political instability and the fracture along party lines also heightens the risks faced by media professionals, the safety component foreseen under the project to be implemented by MAAN Network is also crucial, and furthers past cooperation with UNESCO on these matters UNESCO Ramallah Trainees will also receive copies of the Handbook for Journalists published by UNESCO and Reporters without Borders, which includes information about international norms protecting press freedom, provides advice for journalists´ to take safety precautions when undertaking their jobs, as well as contacts of CSOs working on these matters and other useful resources.
The trainings to be delivered under the project implemented by MAAN Network in the West Bank and Gaza early October, will also take stock of newly developed resources tailored to the local context. The initiative will also result in findings that, along with the new learning material produced, will be a valuable input for future initiatives seeking to build the capacity professional skills of Palestinian journalists and to strengthen their protection.
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