Marina Samy: The skills and competencies of young people in Arab societies need to be raised to respond to the changing technological development
“Pasha”: The Citizen Journalism Academy works to promote critical thinking for young people and combat misinformation
Farida Agwa: We stress the importance of educating young people about the role of citizen journalism in sustainable social initiatives
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights completed the second phase of the Citizen Journalism Academy project through the international training for citizen journalism, which was organized in three European countries, namely "Greece, Bulgaria and Italy", with the participation of 21 young men and women from seven organizations from different countries, namely (Bulgaria - Greece - Italy – Albania – Jordan – Egypt – Tunisia).
The international training held in Greece focused on the history of citizen journalism, and introduced it along with its characteristics, the basic concepts of citizen journalism and the importance of citizen journalism as a tool for community participation.
The training in Bulgaria addressed the societal participation of young people, and focused on raising the awareness of the participants about the different views, and developing critical and journalistic thinking skills, by encouraging cooperation and exchange of ideas and best practice among participants.
Maat concluded its participation in the second phase of the Citizen Journalism Academy project in Italy, which discussed the dangers of false news and misleading information and their repercussions on society, and worked to strengthen the capabilities through effective means of verifying information and news.
For her part, Marina Sami, the Director of the Media Unit at Maat and the Project Coordinator, said that the qualitative development and boom witnessed by media in recent years, especially in terms of behavioral and intellectual changes, has facilitated access to and dissemination of information and encouraged individuals to be more effective in handling information, thus giving rise to the emergence of the concept of "Citizen Journalism", especially among the youth, which clearly affects the local communities in the Arab countries.
The skills and competencies of young people in Arab societies need to be raised and strengthened so that they can respond to the rapid technological advancements and the changing digital world, Sami added, noting that this Academy, in which Maat participates, works to build the capacity of youth-led NGOs to use innovative tools and practices to enhance media culture, digital skills and competencies, through developing local training activities on citizen journalism and media literacy.
Abdul-Rahman Pasha, Director of the Sustainable Development Unit at Maat, indicted that modern means of media, topped by social networking sites, have become critically important tools, given their multidimensional role. However, they can be a source of threat to the security of some countries and societies, if poorly managed or misused through spreading false and misleading news, which exacerbates societies’ crises.
In addition, given the daily exposure to a huge amount of information and news, Pasha added that the Citizen Journalism Academy works to enhance joint cooperation and exchange of best practices in the field of youth work in combating false news and misleading information, as well as supporting qualitative development by promoting critical thinking, leadership skills, and youth empowerment.
Farida Agwa, a researcher in the Sustainable Development Unit at Maat, highlighted the importance of educating young people on the role of citizen journalism in development and the advancement of societies, by instilling the values that the individual is not only a beneficiary of services, but an effective contributor to preserving the integrity of his society, and working to try to remove the obstacles that prevent its implementation on On the ground, this happens by working to mobilize young people to participate in sustainable social and national initiatives and work to promote and achieve sustainable development.
It is worth noting that the Citizen Journalism Academy project is funded by the European Commission and aims to promote citizen journalism and media education as a means of effective participation in society, and to enhance the leadership and organizational skills of participating youth, in addition to enhancing methods of interaction with youth through digital means, with the participation of seven organizations Partner, in seven different countries (Bulgaria - Greece - Italy - Albania - Jordan - Egypt - Tunisia).