Media and reconciliation in Iraq
Calendrier : October 2017 – December 2019 / Budget global : €438,000
In Iraq, supporting and strengthening dialogue between the various stakeholders in the reconciliation process is vital. The media play a major role in this respect, as they can constitute either a tool to help achieve social cohesion, or the very opposite.
The Tasalah – which means reconciliation in Arabic – project has been conducted in partnership with the German NGO MiCT, which has an in-depth knowledge of Iraq and to whom CFI entrusted the implementation of the on-the-ground actions. The support focuses on two axes: governance and social cohesion.
Strengthening the role of journalism
The first axis was aimed at strengthening the role of journalism as a key element of governance in relation to coverage of political news during an electoral period, and this was done by means of three actions: training of trainers in Beirut, workshops for Iraqi journalists in Baghdad and Kurdistan, and lastly monitoring the coverage of elections in political talk shows on eight local and national Iraqi television channels.
These activities took place before the legislative poll of 12 May 2018 and enabled 27 trainers to be trained, seven of whom then led workshops with 141 journalists coming from across the entire territory of Iraq.
Supporting the media in their role in promoting social cohesion
Specifically funded by the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the “social cohesion” axis is structured around three workshops in Mosul, mixing speakers from media organisations and from civil society, as well as a wrap-up conference in Erbil, in the presence of international players and ten national and local media organisations, to reflect on the role of the media in the country’s stabilisation process. These “Mosul talks” led to a final publication in English, French and Arabic.
In addition, six workshops relating to digital tools and skills (fact checking and fake news/cyber-security) in Baghdad, Basra and Souleimanieh brought together 96 journalists from across Iraq. One journalist from the capital told the local coordinator: “Before this workshop I used to think that cyber-security just meant the software on my phone and my computer, but in reality it depends on my day-to-day routine and the way in which I manage my personal data”.
Finally, three workshops supporting the production of media content relating to social cohesion brought together, in Kurdistan, 40 journalists and citizen journalists from throughout the national territory. All of the 35 items of content produced were published in local or national media (TV, online press and radio) and/or on social networks, where some videos were viewed tens of thousands of times. The top four productions were honoured at an award ceremony in Erbil in December, in the presence of representatives of the French Embassy in Iraq.
Report on the “Mosul Talks”
Report by Rabee Altay (Mosul) – 1st prize in Tasalah awards, December 2018
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