UNESCO Ramallah Office organizes training seminar for journalists and media professionals – UNESCO press release

15.06.2015 – UNESCO Office in Ramallah
Introducing best practices for “code of conduct and ethics” among journalists

As part of the follow-up on the UNESCO Report on Media Development in Palestine, which was launched in June 2014, the UNESCO Ramallah Office has organized in cooperation with Filastiniyat a training seminar for journalists and media professionals from 15 – 17 May 2015 in Gaza and between 27 May and 2 June 2015 in Ramallah. Some forty participants were introduced to best practices in the area of codes of conduct and ethical guidelines for journalists. There were additionally involved in the drafting of a proposed set of ethical guidelines for the local media community.

UNESCO, with more than two decades of experience in building capacities of the media professionals globally, is well positioned to undertake this endeavor. The Organization provides in-depth training in numerous areas, including investigative and conflict-sensitive reporting, media sustainability, safety, and election reporting. Codes of ethics are an essential instrument of media self-regulation, guiding journalists on their role, their rights and obligations and on how they can best perform their job, and representing a standard against which their work can be assessed.
The workshop was supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the training was delivered by Filastiniyat and the journalist and media trainer Walid Batrawi, based on the BBC Media Action’s “Best Practices” guide book, which was tailored to include social media in the Palestinian context.
The training seminar provided journalists with an overview of international standards related to media. It focused on challenges faced by journalists at the workplace. “It is important to discuss the ethics of journalism and international standards, particularly given the lack of a clear and written professional guidelines in most media organizations in Palestine, which affects the quality of reporting in the Palestinian media”, said Mr. Walid Batrawi, Director of Projects for BBC Media Action in Palestine and trainer in the workshops.
Two similar training sessions were held in Ramallah with the participation of some forty additional journalists between 27 May and 2 June 2015.. In his opening remarks Dr. Abdel Nasser Nagar, Head of Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate welcomed the initiative and highlighted the importance of codes of conduct and ethical guidelines.
While Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Deputy Minister of Information spoke about the profession of journalism and the “importance for journalists to commit to ethics and professional standards”. The Deputy Minister also called on the media to devote more attention to understanding the needs and opinions of its audience and for a fair and balanced report of events.
Dr. Lodovico Folin-Calabi, Head of UNESCO Ramallah Office a.i. highlighted that “according to the Assessment of Media Development in Palestine coordinated by UNESCO in 2014, and despite several civil society-led initiatives, the Palestinian media does not have an established code of conduct or a selfregulation system. Self-regulation is an effective practice for ensuring media independence, professionalism and ethical conduct. Our office is therefore glad to support this training initiative, with the hope that it helps strengthening a culture of professional and effective self-regulatory system for the media”.
For more information on this event, please contact: Majd Beltaji, Public Information Officer of the UNESCO Ramallah Office, at m.beltaji@unesco.org  

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