Project to ‘expand dialogue’ on human rights

March 8, 2014

AMMAN — A newly launched two-year project aims to expand citizen and state dialogue on human rights, gender and freedom of expression through strengthened media in the Middle East and North Africa region, organizers said Saturday.

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), in collaboration with the Jordan Media Institute (JMI), launched the Amman-based project “Expanding Public Dialogue on Human Rights Issues”, according to a JMI statement released on Saturday.

The project, which is supported by the US Middle East Partnership Initiative, will include mentoring and training journalists, journalism students and representatives of civil society organizations on the power of data to help “make this dialogue more effective and informed”.

Designed and managed by JHR, Canada’s “leading media development organization”, and implemented by the JMI, the project will engage two more local partners: Community Media Network (CMN), a media and community radio organization, and the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), a regional press freedom organization based in Amman.

At the core of the project is the use of data journalism tools to run major investigations on human rights issues, according to the statement.

The initiative will be supported by the use of “a citizen reporting crowd-sourcing tool developed by CMN — the first in the Arab world — which will help a more informed and participatory public dialogue on these issues”.

CDFJ will be facilitating the communications training and public engagement elements of the project.

“Data journalism helps tell compelling stories through the power of data. This project will support journalists doing that through training and tools that will help them in several ways, including tracking more closely a breaking story and reaching out to the public through doing snap polls, gauging civil society’s mood about key issues,” the statement quoted JHR Executive Director Rachel Pulfer as saying.

On the research and training side, “the project will develop curricula to increase data-driven reporting on human rights, as well as monitoring media coverage of human rights issues,” said JMI Dean Bassim Tweissi.