Research symposium highlights recent media studies

On July 3, 2018, the Media Development Center at Birzeit University celebrated the release of a series of policy research papers. The center convened a symposium that discussed three recent studies on “Press Treatment of the Relationship between UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees,” “Editorial Policies in the Palestinian Press,” and a specialized article on “Fact Checking in New Media.”

The director of the center, Nibal Thawabteh, said that the inauguration of the research unit six years ago added tremendously to the field of media research and policy making in Palestine. “We believe that research forms a core aspect of our work as journalists. It is one of the means of having a better reality for Palestinian journalists.”

Thawabteh announced that the center is currently working on a new professional diploma that focuses on digital media. The idea of the diploma stems from the fact that most media graduates are facing unemployment at high rates. Therefore, a professional diploma, according to Thawabteh, will hone graduates’ competencies and integrate them into professional life.

The center’s Research and Studies Coordinator, Saleh Masharqa, expressed his enthusiasm about the new and informative publications of the center. “In Palestine, we suffer from the lack of specialized research in media. However, at the center we were able to take this field to a new, upgraded level. We have a large number of enlightening research studies that are published on our website”

The first session of the symposium discussed the press treatment of Palestinian refugees, and how UNRWA talks about them. The research was conducted by Director of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute for International Studies Lord Habash and researchers Roxana Salameh and Bahaa’ Twam. The second session discussed the importance of fact checking and verification in new media, conducted by Baker Abdel Haq and supervised by Masharqa.

The last session focused on editorial policies in the Palestinian media, research that was carried out by the researcher and journalist Naela Khalil, and supervised by Birzeit University media professor Widad Al Barghouthi.