DUBAI, UAE: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) presented its 7th annual Middle East conference with a look at media transformation in the region and issued a call for proposals for innovative projects to support the independent press.
For the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere to succeed in building democracy and press freedom, media in the region need training on business, editorial and ethical practices, legal and institutional reform, investment and other immediate support.
As part of the process, WAN-IFRA and the Cairo-based Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute (DEDI) on Thursday launched a call for proposals for its Arab Newspaper Development Programme, which will provide workshops, training and consulting for 10 selected media outlets in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. The goal is to identify new strategic development opportunities, revenue steams and build sustainable independent media businesses. More on the project, and the proposal application, can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/53287/.
Constant vigilence is essential
"There is a tendency, within the international community, to turn attention elsewhere once repressive regimes are removed. A lot of people assume the job is done and development can now proceed accordingly," said Larry Kilman, deputy CEO of WAN-IFRA. "But this simply is not true - there is a danger that the old ways will reassert themselves without a great deal of continuing attention and support."
The presentation focused on the findings of several international missions to Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt conducted by coalitions of international and regional media development organisations. It also looked at the historical record in places as diverse as Korea, Brazil and Taiwan to show how independent media can grow and thrive when political liberalisation takes place.
WAN-IFRA's Middle East Conference brought together nearly 300 regional and international media experts to present case studies and examine successful strategies for media companies. The conference is built around five big themes that are essential for media companies in the modern age: social media; leadership and human resource management; innovations in newsrooms; advertising revenue generation; and the power of print.
Summaries of conference presentations and other details can be found here or on Twitter using #mec12.
WAN-IFRA and DEDI have conducted the Arab Newspaper Development Programme since 2006 to help ensure the existence of free and independent media in the Arab world. The project aims to develop effective commercial and editorial strategies for participating media organisations and has contributed to the general development of the media sector in the Arab world. More on the project can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/arab-newspaper-development-programme.
WAN-IFRA WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18 000 publications, 15 000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry. Go to: http://www.wan-ifra.org
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