Media center launches pioneering ethics course at the Arab American University

The Media Development Center at Birzeit University, together with the Arabic and Media Department at the Arab American University, launched the Media Ethics course on Saturday, October 6, 2018.   The course, which was developed under the National Media Development Initiative, was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The course was officially launched in a meeting at the Arab American University, with Chair of the Arabic and Media Department Emad Abu Hasan, Sudqi Mousa, and Said Abu Mualla in attendance, along with Emad Alasfar, Saleh Masharqeh, Duha Abuhijleh, and Khalid Saleem, from the Media Development Center.

Three courses developed as part of the initiative were presented during the meeting: Media and the Law, Media and Gender, and the aforementioned Media Ethics, with plans set forth to include the other courses in academic programs in the future.

In the meeting, Abu Hasan emphasized the role of inter-university cooperation, both in the West Bank and Gaza, in producing specialized academic content in media, law, and gender studies, while Alasfar noted that acceptance of change and development in academic programs will lead to a new generation of journalists qualified to tackle a new job market with conceptual and analytical skills.

Mousa, similarly, highlighted the Palestinian press’ need for such development, especially in light of the recent technological breakthroughs in journalism, which require updating the principles and standards of the profession.

Along similar lines, Abu Mualla stressed the benefits students would reap from enrolling in a course designed by experienced academics and experts in the field. He added that such a program is a breakthrough in media courses, as they are predominantly old and outdated, especially in the areas of ethics, the law, and gender.

Abuhijleh and Saleem reviewed the process by which the three courses were designed and created, which included 26 authors, three editors, and appraisal by 14 chairs of media departments and colleges, in addition to a workshop for professors and instructors that would teach the course.

Masharqeh, pointing to the future, said the Media Development Center is working on two new courses - Economic Journalism and Cultural Journalism. The two courses, he mentioned, were not taught in any of the four colleges and 16 universities surveyed, which necessitated a new approach to teaching journalism that would match the ever-developing media field.