By Peter Townson
DCMF’s Junior Reporters gained valuable experience while covering the three-day forum in Bangkok
Through its cartoon exhibition, side event on women’s safety in the Arab world and team of Junior Reporters, DCMF played an important role at the recent Global Forum on Media and Gender.
Continuing its participation in high profile international events focused on issues related to press freedom, Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) recently sent a delegation to attend the Global Forum on Media and Gender which was held in Bangkok between December 2 and 4.
The centre was represented by a number of members of staff and also sponsored a team of Junior Reporters to cover the event. The team updated a dedicated Facebook page and blog with their daily coverage of the event, while they also live tweeted a number of the sessions. Photographs produced by the team were used by other institutions partnering at the event, such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and have also been utilised on DCMF’s main website and other places online.
DCMF also hosted an exhibition of 20 cartoons on the theme of Media and Gender, which were displayed throughout the event, bringing to life through art the highly important issues which were being discussed over the course of the three days.
The inspirational stories of female journalists covering issues in the region were recounted during the DCMF-organised side event on the safety of women journalists in the Arab world. Nazeeha Saeed, the Bahraini journalist who was tortured for her coverage of protests in her country before being flown to France for physical and psychological treatment, was joined by Jordanian journalist Rana Hussaini, known for her work covering honour killings, vice-chair of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, Abeer Saady and Al Jazeera correspondent, Jane Arraf.
The session highlighted the bravery of women covering dangerous topics and situations and their conviction in addressing some of the taboos which may otherwise have prevented them from carrying out their work.
The team of Junior Reporters expressed their gratitude at being able to participate in the forum, where they were also given the opportunity to work alongside students from the Thammasat University in Thailand.
Mariam Al-Mohannadi from Qatar University noted: “It was the best experience of my life, and as a future media practitioner, I loved it. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone studying or even remotely interested in media to take up the DCMF opportunity to be a Junior Reporter – it an experience that you cannot forget.”
Saeed Khan from Northwestern University in Qatar stated: “It was a very informative and eye opening forum for me as I have taken many classes in media studies and we often discuss issues facing women in the media.”
“I had a chance to interact and network with professional journalists, delegates and professors from all over the world,” he said, adding “some of the most important things I learned from the conference were about the safety of female journalists on the frontline and what sort of experiences they have been through, the fact that female involvement in the media creates more innovative and balanced stories and girls who are consuming media these days are lacking good role models.”
Qatar University student, Zainah Loulou added: “This conference impacted me highly. I have learnt to report about sessions, I learnt to write reports on the spot instead of taking a week and I learnt to video cover a session efficiently.”
“And most importantly the voice of junior reporters, our voice, was heard about gender and equality through our articles and twitter account,” she said, adding “this trip was full of knowledge from a journalistic perspective and personal level too.”
Senior coordinator for DCMF’s website, Aisha Sid Ahmed noted: “The forum provided an excellent opportunity for DCMF to network with other press freedom organisations and spread the word about the work that the centre is carrying out in the region and around the world.”
“It also gave the chance for our team of Junior Reporters to gain some invaluable hands-on experience of reporting from a major international event. The young journalists excelled themselves and were fantastic ambassadors for the centre and for the future of the media in Qatar.”
“Overall this was an interesting and informative forum, and one in which DCMF played an important role,” she said, adding “our cartoon exhibition on media and gender was well received, our panel session on the safety of women journalists in the Arab world was one of the most interesting events, and the centre met some valuable contacts while helping to nurture and train future journalistic talent.”
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