In conjunction with International Women's Day, ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism) in partnership with the, the Facebook Journalism Project, Women in News / WAN-IFRA, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), and SAFE, IREX, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office kicked off the first of several programs under the umbrella of the I Will Not Stay Silent project.
The year-long project, which targets the Arab journalistic community at large, was developed in response to the new forms of harassment against journalists at large, and female journalists in particular, that began to surface with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. A hashtag, #IWillNotStaySilent (in Arabic) is being used on social media platforms concurrently with the project activities to spark online discussion on discrimination, harassment, and all forms of abuse of power.
The project aims to create a safe, pluralistic, and inclusive media environment that is free of discrimination. The project, the first of its kind in the Arab world, takes a holistic approach to help break the silence towards all forms of abuse of power, including fraud, corruption, harassment, and hate speech, through a series of online awareness activities, specialized training programs, and direct psychosocial and digital support.
More than 60 Arab journalists and activists participated in the first publicly available webinar that was broadcast live on ARIJ’s Facebook page. The first webinar entitled, "How to Understand and Manage Unconscious Biases?" was presented by talk show host and television presenter Mona Salman from Women in News / WAN-IFRA and moderated by Dr Rouba El Helou, political communication and gender lecturer.
Throughout the ninety-minute session, Salman explained how we may adopt and hold on to biases unconsciously and touched on the various types of unconscious bias, such as confirmation, affinity, and conformity bias.
She highlighted the importance of tackling those biases in order to create inclusive work environments. She also stressed the importance of developing awareness as a tool to combat biases, saying: “We need to be aware of our biases and pay attention to stereotypes. It is also necessary to seek points of view that differ from our own.”
The attendees interacted with the trainers through exercises and by participating in discussions, raising valuable questions about one’s ability to detect their unconscious biases and limit them and how to address women’s issues without feeding into stereotypes.
The webinar was the first in a series of 12 webinars under the I Will Not Stay Silent project that addresses discrimination, online harassment, and gender balance in the news, to name a few, by specialized trainers from Women in News / WAN-IFRA. The webinars are held weekly, starting 8 March, 2021, and broadcast live on Facebook.
The next webinar slated for Monday, March 15, 2021, 5 PM Amman time, is titled "Gender Balance in the News ... Have We Failed?" and will be presented by Assistant Professor at Cairo University’s Faculty of Media, Dr Mona Magdy. Register for the second webinar through this link.
The project also includes a specialized diploma program, and individual psychosocial and digital support sessions that will be launched later in 2021, in addition to a year-long visual and digital awareness campaign in Arabic that addresses the various forms of abuse of power and discrimination.
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