Reflecting the challenges of the Libyan journalism
Calendrier : January 2017 – June 2017 / Budget global : €250,000
In a climate of extreme political and economic volatility, Libyan media outlets are struggling to guarantee news pluralism in their country nowadays. Many journalists had to go into exile in order to retain their independence.
In 2017, Hiwar offered around ten of these journalists the opportunity to take part in discussion workshops on ethical challenges and the risks of combining journalistic and political functions in a context of crisis. These workshops brought together Libyan journalists with a wide variety of profiles in Tunisia in order to share there experiences and practices. Terms used, red lines, self-censorship, respecting ethics, physical threats, the employer-employee relationship and editorial independence are just some of the topics that these journalists analysed through the lens of the crisis in Libya. Most of them expressed their difficulty in distinguishing their activist commitment from their activity as a journalist. They also stressed how much of a challenge it was to show strict respect for ethics and integrity in the Libya of today, the concept of neutrality appearing inconceivable to them in such a context.
This project was marked by two high points: the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day in Tunis on 3 May, which brought together the journalists from Yemen and Iraq who participated in the previous ILYM project, and a meeting with the French Ambassador to Libya.
Digital security and management of a media outlet
The evaluation of these four sessions made it possible to devise two specific workshops based on the most important needs expressed by the participants: the digital security of local correspondents and the management of a media outlet. These last two workshops were held in Tripoli and Tunis. They sought to provide the participants with the tools required to evaluate digital risks, secure communications and data on the internet as well as instant messaging and social networks, while incorporating the concepts of confidentiality and authentication. As for the session on management, the aim was to study the business models of media outlets that are suitable for executive and editorial management in crisis conditions, and to organise and manage information and programming more effectively.
At the end of the project, ten contributions were produced by the participants and published in a collection of accounts entitled “I am a Libyan journalist”, in Arabic, French and English, and broadcast on the CFI website and social networks. An exercise to ingrain ethics and integrity was also initiated within targeted editorial teams, in order to report more effectively in times of war. Finally, the journalists established a common lexicographic basis of expressions to be used to steer clear of political taboos, implicit or explicit, and to avoid words that are considered to be offensive, with a view to eliminating hate speech and avoiding the use of divisive vocabulary.
We focused on the culture of dialogue, education on diversity and respecting the opinion of others. I particularly appreciated the discussions relating to the concepts of lexical fields and context delimitation and to two new concepts: fake news and post-truths.
Rizk, Libyan journalist and participant in the Hiwar project
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