The presence of IMS and its partners in the region since 2004 has given people caught up in political crises, war and conflict access to a critical press as an alternative to propaganda, a corps of journalists able to provide basic humanitarian information when a crisis is at its height, and a chance to take part in debate on the future of their society. Over the last few years, legislative work to support progressive online media, a journalists’ network to strengthen the voice and rights of women, support for investigative journalism and documentary films throughout the region, and much more was made possible with support from Det Arabiske Initiativ (DAI, now the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme DAPP).
Work by IMS in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region)
A few results from over the years
Jordan’s Ro’ya TV, one of the country’s most popular TV stations, set up a regional office in Irbid on the Syrian border, an area subject to heavy flows of refugees. Supported by DAPP, the station aims its broadcasting for refugees as well as the general viewing society.
Through IMS, DAPP has supported film projects and pop-up cinemas in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, home to up to 80,000 refugees. The objective is to increase the information level on the conflict in general and on the refugees’ own situation in the camp.
Supported by DAPP, a network of female journalists has described the realities of life in the conservative part of Jordan, where they question gender roles, put women’s rights on the public agenda and act as local heroes for the young girls of the local community.
Local partners have received funding from DAPP through IMS to enable to support in-depth investigative journalism in local areas of the Middle East; journalism that brings focus on issues such as human smuggling, corruption and forgery of passports and identity papers. Over the years, journalistic investigations have led to new legislation at local and national levels, and brought politicians and businessmen to justice.
The Association of Tunisian Journalist received support from DAPP through IMS to secure journalists protection for their sources and against abuse of the country’s new anti-terror laws; a key issue in a country facing the violent terrorist atrocities and a media under severe pressure when covering them.
IMS and its partners launched a new website in 2017 (Menamedialaw.org) to bring together best media practices and progress within media legislation in the MENA region. The site is intended to inspire decision-makers and other legislators in the region.
Return to Homs, Sepideh, White Helmets and Speed Sisters
The three titles above are all films that won regional and international awards. They illustrate daily life and the impact of the bloody conflict on the civilian population. Documentary films from the region are scaling new heights, and are being backed by DAPP’s support and Danish expertise.
IMS focus under the new DAPP programme from 2017 – 2021 will continue to be on bolstering independent media in the region and contributing to legislative reform to benefit the media and freedom of speech, and to enable the media to work professionally and in safety.