Story Written at MDI Workshop Attracts the Attention of Algerian Officials

Dates: 24 – 28 November 2013

Country: Algeria

algeria_november_2An article produced at a Media Diversity Institute journalism workshop in Algeria in November 2013 attracted the attention and positive reaction of the Ministry of Culture in Algeria.

One of the MDI trainees produced a story about the war orphans of the Algerian War of Independence who were raised by the state as the ballet dancers, but later, as they claimed, lost status and state benefits such as pensions.

The article described how particularly hard this was for the women since dancing was and often is not considered as a suitable and respected profession and highlighted the hard conditions dancers had to live in after their retirement, as were left without any status or pension. The story was so powerful that after its publication, the Ministry of Culture called the dancers to start a discussion about the regularization of their situation.

The dancers even visited the office of the newspaper that published the article, the Arabic language newspaper El Fadjr, to express their gratitude for the article. El Fadjr is the only newspaper in Algeria owned by a women.

The article can be seen here:

Another of the stories produced at the training course featured an Algerian para-Olympian and a gold medal winner at the London Olympics who was angry and frustrated at the lack of recognition and at the lack of facilities for people with disabilities. Other storiess portrayed a street tea-seller in Algiers from one of the country’s poorest regions as well as a story about those in the south of Algeria who are still suffering the medical effects of French nuclear tests carried out in the 60s.

The journalists behind the stories are six women and seven men, almost all in their twenties and almost all with just one to two years of experience as journalists, who attended the workshop on inclusive journalism. They all produced very well written and interesting stories portraying those who feel marginalized by Algerian society, that were published by the media organisations they work for.

According to the trainers Don Murray and Tarik Hafid, the young Algerian journalists displayed enthusiasm for discussion on reporting diversity and they found the themes stimulating and appreciated the journalistic guidance they were offered.

The workshop in Algiers is part of MDI’s project “Inclusive Media for an Inclusive Society: Building the presence of youth and marginalised voices in Algeria” supported by the UK FCO’s Arab Partnership Fund.