Media: A Vice or Virtue in a Radicalized World?

An Outlook for the Future
Feature13.12.2019Hend Shaheen

The world we live in is one of extremes... filled with polarization and radicalization. Freedom of expression faces increasing threats and unprecedented challenges worldwide. More than ever before, journalists and independent news organizations are being targeted for the work they do. Advertising-based business models that have supported journalism for many decades have grown old fashion. Facebook and Google have become the world’s biggest media distributors, and in a system where loopholes are being filled with disinformation, this has contributed to the change in how we experience media today. Nonetheless, media entities and news networks maintain the responsibility to stand up and safeguard the freedom of expression, as do human rights organizations and academic institutions.

Among the endeavors that have emerged in the last decade, heeding the call to support the deteriorating conditions of freedoms and democracy in the Arab region, comes the work of our partner Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ). ARIJ has played a great role in supporting investigative journalism in the region. The network trains Arab journalists, media students, and professors on investigative journalism as a fundamental tool to examine and document facts, enhance transparency, and accountability as well as to expose divergent views.

Last month, FNF MENA took part in the ARIJ Forum 2019 entitled “Media in a Radicalized World” where FNF MENA co-organized three workshops on the margin of the forum. These were entitled “Investigative Journalism with Focus on Human Rights”, “Open Source Investigation and Verification” and “Modern Investigative Journalism Curriculum” targeting young journalists, investigative journalists, and media professors respectively. These workshops consisted of nearly 40 Arab journalists and media professors to gain further knowledge on these subjects and grow their network through the participation at this forum.

For three days, the ARIJ Forum 2019 held plenaries, panel discussions, workshop sessions, and networking events filled with a tight schedule, where journalists gained the opportunity to explore new media tools and techniquesSpecifically the workshops explored further tools on storytelling, countering disinformation, interviews, and artificial intelligence.

Since FNF’s establishment, the Foundation for Freedom has been committed to media and press freedom in Germany and abroad as a fundamental cornerstone of democracy and a fundamental human right.