Egyptian Media publish 25 Stories Produced at MDI Training

Dates: 1-5 June 2013

Country:  Egypt, Cairo

EJTJune2013 pic1Egyptian newspapers, print and online, have published 25 articles produced during the ‘Parliamentary and Political Reporting Workshop’ organised by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) in Cairo between 1 and 5 June 2013. Some of the stories were even picked up by foreign news agencies such as Ansa, the Italian national news agency, and Anatolia, the Turkish national news agency.

The articles were written as a result of five days training in which the participants attended two press conferences. This activity was set up to challenge the participants, 18 young political reporters from Egyptian newspapers, to find real stories. It was also a chance for the journalists to show how much they had taken on board and what individual reporting skills they had learnt during  the training.

The first press conference was attended by six former and current MPs in the People’s Assembly and Shura council.  Among them were Adel Afifi, leader of El-Asala (Salafist) party and current MP in the Shura council, and Nagi El-Shehaby, leader of El-Gel (liberal) party, and current MP in Shura council.

“After the meeting, the trainees came with an extraordinarily long list of stories, way beyond what I had expected. There were political stories, international stories, human interest stories and a clever story about the significance of a former party leader and police chief’s beard – at a time when a ban on police officers wearing beards was causing controversy”, explains David Harrison, MDI’s trainer.

The second conference was given by Ramy Mohsen, an election law expert, which produced yet more stories for print and online media. “I cannot think of any other course I have run which has achieved such spectacular success in terms of stories being published”, adds Harrison.

EJTJune2013 pic2The training was a mixture of talks, discussions and practical work. It covered a wide range of topics, including how to find and write political news stories.  Much emphasis was placed on the role of the reporter in a democracy, the importance of balance and fairness and holding those in power to account.

The journalists discussed  diversity, inclusion and equality issues such as how to cover women’s issues, and religious and ethnic minorities in politics? They also critiqued Egyptian newspapers, examining the choice of stories, how they were written and presented, and how they could be improved.

The training course is part of the project “Inclusive Parliament: Building citizens’ participation in the political process in Egypt through better media, parliamentary and civil society interaction”, run by MDI and funded by the UK Embassy in Cairo. The workshop is one of many other activities, including the establishment of a student website, roundtable discussions and TV programmes that will be organised during the life of the project.

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