25 Jun 2012
Meedan is working with the news network Al-Ayyam to bolster public voice, free expression and accountability in Syria.
In a joint initiative that is designed to be responsive to critical and fast-changing needs on the ground, we seek to strengthen the role of citizen journalists to act together as a watchdog documenting the actions of the Syrian regime and armed groups operating in the country.
Our objective is to provide a model for an investigative, citizen-led media in Syria and a building block of future reconciliation efforts.
The partnership is part of a holistic programmatic response to the needs of Arab citizen journalists that has been funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) over the past year.
The program is designed to support citizen journalists to fulfil their role as information agents, investigators, and channels for amplifying marginalised voices and civic debate. The work is helping to build a democratic media that can facilitate inclusive and peaceful transitions in the broader region.
To achieve this, Meedan is providing digital tools to mainstream media and community collectives, such as leading Egyptian independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, that support them to engage citizen journalists and to better incorporate citizen journalism on governance, human rights and democracy issues into their reporting output.
During the month of the elections in Egypt for example, Al-Masry Al-Youm used the Meedan tools to engage over 150,000 members of its community around over 2,000 citizen produced reports from more than 1,000 different citizen sources. We also trained over 100 citizen journalists from around Egypt, including workshops in Mahalla, Mansoura, Aswan, Alexandria, Cairo and Naga Hammadi, increasing the voices of marginalized regions in Al-Masry Al-Youm’s reporting output.
The work, which can be seen at http://liveblog.almasryalyoum.com, now has the backing of the International Press Institute and the UK Arab Partnerships programme to roll out to media collectives around the region.
Al-Ayyam was founded by Syrian pro-democracy activists seeking to improve news reports coming out of Syria and to provide in-depth analysis by Syrians on the current situation.