Youth and Media: identifying grassroots activities in the Maghreb

From 10 to 12 March 2016 in Rabat, Morocco, 14 representatives of youth organizations part of the NET-MED Youth Project from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia participated in a 3-day media workshop to define a strategy that promotes better representation of youth in the media.

A month-long study into mainstream media in the 3 Maghreb countries revealed that youth representation is often minimal. Just a small percentage of television news observed involved youth or focused on topics related to youth: about 2% in Morocco and 1% in Tunisia. While in Algeria, less than 1% of those interviewed on television are between 19 and 24 years old. As a result of these findings, youth organizations were keen to have their voices heard and kick-off the discussion.

The workshop was facilitated by Farida Ayari and Safaa Nhairy, experts on media and communication. Special guests including the renowned media professionals Nadia Larguet and Oussama Benjelloun were also present to share their challenges and achievements.

The workshop was designed in a participatory manner, with young attendees “working out loud” and sharing their opinions on social media. “Change cannot happen unless we, the youth, work on strong and relevant messages to achieve our plan, and ultimately obtain better portrayal of youth in the media,” said Jihen Ayed, a participant from Tunisia.

The outcome of the workshop consisted of a set of actions proposed by the participants for implementation throughout 2016. These include training on citizen journalism, capacity-building for reporting on youth, strengthening the abilities of CSOs to construct positive relations with the media, as well as synergies with the Youth on Screen initiative.

NET-MED Youth is a project implemented by UNESCO and funded by the European Union. It aims at mainstreaming youth issues and priorities across national decision-making and policy implementation in eastern and western Mediterranean countries by building the capacities of youth and youth organizations and promoting their active engagement in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies on youth, ensuring that youth issues are adequately covered by national and regional media and by identifying workable models for improving youth access to employment and youth inclusion in different sectors.

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