Checkdesk: Middle East Citizen Journalism Project ← Back to Programs
Meedan is working with the Swedish International Development Agency, the UK’s Arab Partnerships Program, and the International Press Institute, to improve civic capacity in news reporting in the Arab world. The project has Meedan developing Checkdesk, a platform for Middle East media partners which help them to engage the region’s growing digital generation in new media news gathering, corroboration and interpretation.
In the first phase, Meedan developed a citizen-led live blogging tool, powered by an alpha release of Checkdesk, for Egypt’s leading independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm which was used to report on the transition period in Egypt with active citizen participation (read more about these tools here). Social media expert and online journalist Noha Atef of Birmingham City University worked with a group of Egypt’s leading citizen reporters, including Ramy Raoof, Lilian Wagdy, Tarek Amr and Waleed Nasser, to develop a training curriculum for citizen journalists in new media reporting techniques. Al Ayyam, a Syrian media collective operating out of Lebanon, has also started using Checkdesk to cover the events in Syria.
In the second phase of the project, Meedan will extend the tools to media partners in other Middle East countries, providing a robust platform for journalists and citizens to explore, cross-reference, and evaluate citizen media output collaboratively. These partners include Go Local (Egypt), 7iber (Jordan), Ma’an News Agency (Palestine), and Social Media Exchange (Lebanon). We also hope other groups, such as Global Voices and Nawaat (Tunisia) will take up the tools.
The big picture is of journalists having more capacity to report on the big stories from their countries and hold truth to power. It is also a picture of citizen journalists leading the region-wide transition towards more openness and accountability in which citizen journalists are empowered to report accurately and credibly.
The image to the right shows Egyptian journalist @Hebalsherif in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Picture courtesy of Rowan El Shimi on Flickr.