Palestinian journalists, publicists bolster gender-sensitive reporting in Birzeit University workshop

Journalists and public-relations personnel at Palestinian civil-society institutions discussed methods and approaches to raise awareness of gender equality and promote women’s empowerment through local print and digital media in a workshop organized by Birzeit University’s Media Development Center

The three-day workshop, held on Monday, November 16, 2020, focused on training local reporters and publicists on producing gender-sensitive materials that identify, and attempt to address, inequality and discrimination against women in the Palestinian community, especially on social media platforms. 

Nahed Abu Taimeh, coordinator of the Media Development Center’s gender research unit who led the training workshop, stressed the importance of highlighting women’s achievements and bolstering their presence on digital platforms, especially during a time when discriminatory and prejudiced discourse permeates online discussions. The training workshop, Abu Taimeh added, will help feminist and civil-society institutions counter such divisive rhetoric and reaffirm women’s rights. 

Nibal Thawabteh, director of the Media Development Center, said that the workshop, supported by the government of Canada, is part of the center’s mission to promote the best editorial practices in local news and media agencies and help non-governmental institutions in Palestine advance gender equality through print, broadcast, and digital media. 

Thawabteh also highlighted the center’s media monitoring efforts, whereby staff compare the editorial policies of local media agencies against a set of gender-sensitive guidelines prepared by the center in cooperation with Palestinian media and gender experts, in addition to representatives of civil-society institutions. 

Emad Alasfar, the Media Development Center’s monitoring and evaluation coordinator, noted in his welcoming remarks that Palestinian efforts to promote gender-sensitive reporting can be augmented with the experience of regional and international organizations in raising awareness through targeted media campaigns. He maintained that drawing lessons from such experiences can help local organizations address such a wide topic as gender-sensitive reporting through a variety of tools and methods.