By: Rasem Dwikat
Department of Communication & Digital Media at An-Najah National University (NNU) concluded the five day workshop The Rig on press freedom in the Arab world Thursday 6 January 2022.
The workshop was organized in cooperation between NNU and OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. The implementation was supervised by the teachers Farid Abudheir, Dalal Radwan, Ibrahim Okkeh, and Ayman Al-Masry.
42 students from the Department of Communication & Digital Media and the Department of Radio & TV participated in the workshop. This workshop comes within the framework of cooperation between the two universities in the field of media and communication, which dates back to 1999.
The workshop aims, according to the workshop coordinator, Farid Abudheir, to raise the level of knowledge and awareness of media students about the concept of press freedom and its reality in the world in general, and in the Arab world in particular, where students work over five days to research issues of violations against media and journalists in various Arab countries. Abudheir adds that the workshop also aims to strengthen the concepts of media ethics among the journalism students, the most important of which are: Obtaining firsthand information from sources, verifying the validity of information, in addition to making balance in building news stories, as well as using data journalism tools in searching for information, filtering and using it in media materials in the framework of credibility, accuracy and fairness.
This workshop is distinguished in its topic and implementation mechanism. The Rig on press freedom was invented by Professor Elisabeth Frey from OsloMet, who participated in implementing it at NNU in 2017 and 2019, while she was unable to participate in the workshop this year with her colleague Mathias Falch due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The distinction of this training workshop lies in the fact that it is based on mechanisms of taking students from theoretical academic education to practice outside the class, transferring the student from the limited local field to the wide global arena, as well as moving the student to the digital space and employing modern techniques in building the journalistic story.
At the closing session of the workshop, Farid Abudheir, thanked everybody at NNU and OsloMet contributing to the success of the workshop. He also thanked Ruben André Johansen, Second Secretary at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority, for attending the ceremony and participating in honouring the students.
Ruben André Johansen said that the declining state of press freedom in the world requires strong, principled and experienced journalists. He added that the independent press is one of the most important elements in a democratic society, which is why Norway supports projects that focus on press freedom, including the Rig on press freedom workshop at NNU. He thanked the organizers of the workshop for inviting him to attend the closing session of the workshop, and congratulated the teachers, professors and students on the successful completion of the workshop.
Mr. Raed Al-Dabai, the NNU President’s Assistant, emphasized that freedom is a great value, and that media freedom is an essential component of the values for development and progress, and that NNU appreciates the idea of the project and the value it defends, which is the freedom of the press. Al-Dubai thanked the partners in Norway and OsloMet University for their efforts in making these projects a success, looking forward to more cooperation and achievements in the coming days.
Roaa Al-Khuffash, who spoke on behalf of the students, expressed her and her colleagues’ happiness with the Rig and its successful completion. Al-Khuffash added that the value of the Rig lies in taking student away from the usual stereotypical style of teaching, since it broadens the students’ perceptions of press freedom in the Arab world, integrating students in media field work, and makes the student bear the responsibility of the information s/he transmits in his reports.
It is noteworthy that the presentations of the students’ achievements before the concluding paragraph included a brief by each student’s about the story he/she worked on during the Rig, its importance, the methods he/she used in building the story, and the challenges he/she faced. This was followed by an evaluation; a discussion of the students’ performance.
Certificates issued by OsloMet and NNU were distributed to the participating students. The final outcome of the Rig will be the publication of all stories in a newspaper soon after the Rig.
(PHOTOS by students’ mobiles.)