The project and its objectives
Lebanon, in comparison with many other countries, has satisfactorily achieved many of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, certain sectors have not yet attained these goals, particularly social issues, such as ending poverty, employment for youths, illiteracy; and environmental problems like preserving the environment, providing clean drinking water, and sanitation.
The UNDP in Lebanon has noted that divisions between communities is slowing progress. Even though they face the same difficulties, the different communities (Shia, Sunni, Maronite, Druze, etc..) turn their backs on each other and attempt to handle their problems separately. The AFP Foundation is convinced that the media can alert citizens, policy makers, and institutions about the urgent need to accelerate the process towards achieving the MDGs and thus the development of their country. Because it profoundly believes in the media’s ability to create and sustain dialogue between populations, the AFP Foundation has established a two year action plan.
Indeed, the current pluralism of Lebanese media reflects the country’s diverse communities. However, in a report (Towards a Citizen’s State), the UNDP in Lebanon pointed out that the media are not tools for dialogue between communities (Shia, Sunni, Maronite, Druze, etc.) and do not address development and environmental issues.
However, by reporting on development issues, by giving voice to all sides of the same topic, Lebanese journalists could help transform the country’s weaknesses into a national priority and a factor of rapprochement between populations.
The method: training journalists and raising awareness amongst the general public
This is why the AFP Foundation and the UNDP Lebanon have created the “Media for Development” program in Lebanon, co-funded by the Fondation Chirac and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. It consists of a series of workshops for journalists from different political backgrounds and confessions to improve the coverage of news about human development and environmental issues.
The AFP Foundation and the UNDP Lebanon want to:
• raise awareness among journalists of their role in the development of their country though improved coverage of topics such as poverty, illiteracy, infectious diseases, environmental issues…
• help the public understand the potential influence of the media to consolidate debate within the nation,
• raise awareness among elected and government officials about the potential role of media in improving governance.
The project will first provide a series of workshops for roughly thirty journalists from all media (print, radio, television). Second, with the assistance of the AFP Foundation and the UNDP Lebanon, the journalists thus trained can in turn help educate Lebanese citizens, political leaders, and captains of industry about development challenges that can be tackled together.
Lebanon’s Media Observatory, established by the AFP Foundation, will compile quarterly reports on the evolution of new coverage on issues of human, social, and environmental development.
Program’s provisional calendar
– Selection of 20 to 24 Lebanese journalists for workshops. The group includes print, radio and television journalists, as well as chief-editors and photographers.
|April 2011: |
– First workshop – AFP Foundation
– Second 3-day seminar for all participants
– Third week of filming and production for the television program – CFI
– Post-production and editing of the TV magazine – CFI
– The Media Observatory’s second quarterly report
– 3 day refresher course in Beirut for Lebanese journalists – AFP Foundation
– The Media Observatory’s fourth quarterly report
|October-November 2012: |
– Closing Ceremony for the UNDP and the AFP Foundation Program. Media Observatory will be handed over to Lebanese media.