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‘Arab investigative journalists to convene in Amman in December’

By JT - Nov 03,2015 - Last updated at Nov 03,2015

AMMAN — The eighth annual forum for Arab investigative journalists opens in the capital on December 4.

More than 250 Arab journalists, editors and media academics will attend the three-day conference, which is organised by the Amman-based Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ).

The theme of the conference is “Arab Media: Surviving under Censorship”, reflecting a growing crackdown on free speech and worsening media polarisation, an ARIJ statement said.

“The regional forum is taking place in Amman despite the clear retraction on press freedoms,” the statement quoted ARIJ Chairperson Daoud Kuttab as saying.

“Despite the increase in... censorship we are committed to training and applying the highest professional standards in our print and video investigations,” Kuttab added.

The forum will feature over 30 panels and training sessions on topics including the personal safety of reporters in conflict zones, offshore financial fraud, advanced writing skills and verification of user generated content, according to the statement.

Speakers will include renowned journalists such as Yosri Fouda, whose primetime show on OnTV was forced to close due to deteriorating media freedoms in Egypt; Lina Attalah, chief editor of “Mada Masr”; Hamza Belloumi, presenter of Hiwar Tunis’ flagship political TV talk show “Eight PM”; and Sheila Coronel, director of the Toni Stabile Centre for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University in New York.

“Investigative journalists are a weird mix of cynics and optimists. We know things are going wrong. What motivates us is a sense that the wrongs have to be exposed, and that by exposing them, they can be changed,” the statement quoted Coronel as saying.

The conference will end with a gala dinner to honour 2015 ARIJ investigations featuring “gutsy undercover work, dogged tracking of corruption, and careful documentation of pollution and health problems”, the statement said.

Founded in 2005, ARIJ has trained 1,642 journalists and nearly 100 media professors in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain and Tunisia, according to the statement.

 

It is funded by the Copenhagen-based International Media Support, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Norwegian foreign ministry and the Norwegian embassy in Amman, and the Open Society Foundation.

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