National Congress on Media Development in Palestine Reports UNESCO Study Results
Birzeit University’s Media Development Center held a National Congress on Media Development in Palestine on December 11, 2013. Participants presented and discussed the preliminary findings of an assessment of media development in Palestine using media development indicators created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which also supported the event.
Videoconferencing between Ramallah and Gaza linked government officials, managers of media organizations, directors of civil society organizations, members of the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate and delegations from various university media colleges/departments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“This study addressed several vital issues including media students’ capacity building and curriculum development, as well as freedom of opinion and expression,” explained Birzeit University Vice President for Community Outreach Samia Halileh.
UNESCO representative in the Palestinian territories Derek Elias said that the study, entitled “Media Development in Palestine,” is one of 18 similar studies in other countries. Elias explained that UNESCO seeks to advance cooperation and communication with the relevant authorities in each targeted country, and that the ultimate goal is to develop a clear and agreed-upon roadmap to be used to achieve citizens’ free participation in public life.
MDC director Nibal Thawabteh said that the study’s approach is that it is a right to access more effective Palestinian media, particularly given the lack of legislation governing the right to access information. Thawabteh said that there was a great need to apply the study’s findings and recommendations in Palestine, as an emerging country that seeks full international recognition and is under a global media microscope.
Palestinian Government Media Center Director Ihab Bseiso confirmed that the recommendations will be discussed as a way of supporting freedom of opinion and expression, while regulating the media sector and protecting journalists. A meeting on the subject with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was planned for the following week.
Work on the study began over a year ago by a team of researchers in the West Bank and Gaza under the supervision of Birzeit University researcher Abeer Ismail.