World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Launches Strengthening Media and Society Programme

WAN-IFRA Launches Strengthening Media and Society Programme

Article ID:


WAN-IFRA’s pioneering Media Freedom programme launched in Amman, Jordan this week as 40 journalists from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine gathered for three days of workshops, training sessions and professional development aimed at strengthening the role of media and enhancing the impact of journalism in society.

The Strengthening Media and Society programme, funded through a two-year engagement between WAN-IFRA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, seeks to build the internal capacity of media in developing countries and fragile states by strengthening digital actors, creating linkages between media, and empowering women media leaders.

The first Strengthening Media and Societyprogrammeevent began with a seminar on innovation models for media. Led by Kim Svendsen, Director of the Stibo Accelerator in Aarhus, Denmark and Stephen Fozard from WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI), participants were asked to “dream big” and aim for ideas that could help bring the innovation culture to their media outlets. Methods for innovating on a shoestring budget were a popular theme, along with collaborative efforts that looked to capture the creative power of local universities and start-up communities. Participants were encouraged to propose ideas for application in their own media companies, and will be assisted by GAMI and its partners to develop their projects over the course of the Strengthening Media and Societyprogramme - and beyond.

Women editors, managers and aspiring leaders participated in the Women Editorial Leadership stream. Prominent investigative journalist Rana Sabbagh, Executive Director of the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), opened with a session on Management in Investigative Journalism, while Paula Fray, Founder of Fray Intermedia, South Africa, followed up with interactive sessions on leadership and management aimed at advancing women in their careers and providing skills for them to have greater impact on decision-making within their newsrooms.

Running in parallel, Omar Mostafa, e-content Development Manager at Dar Al Shorouk in Egypt, and Soren Svendsen, Digital Director at JP/Politikens Hus in Denmark, delivered two days of Digital Strategies workshops to more than 20 participants. Providing both the international and regional perspective on the sustainability of digital platforms, the focus was on corporate strategy, business models and revenue streams, content strategies, digital marketing for news, and audience engagement measuring.

Leading discussions on day three regarding media freedom challenges faced by journalists and media in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine as well as the common problems encountered across the MENA region, the Strengthening Media and Societyprogramme’s Media Freedom Committee country representatives promoted the joint development of action plans and road-maps to build solidarity between participating media and better reach and engage society. Under the directives of the Committee, WAN-IFRA will support these plans over the coming months to assist advocacy at national and regional levels, aiming to support local media in their efforts to fight for greater freedoms.

Addressing governance, accountability, professional safety, economic prosperity, poverty reduction and human rights issues, the Strengthening Media and Societyprogramme also aims to tackle systemic threats to media freedoms by strengthening legal protections and encouraging knowledge exchange, promoting information sharing and solidarity activities between media, and building practical coalitions between media, civil society and decision-makers at the highest levels.

The event in Amman was the first in a series of four regional workshops that will welcome 160 media professionals from more than 60 media organisations. The first phase of the programme continues with workshops in Cartagena (Colombia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Grahamstown (South Africa), before developing into a comprehensive series of webinars and online support programmes; individualised coaching, mentoring and one-on-one professional development sessions; twinning opportunities and media exchanges; advocacy events and innovation grants.

The Strengthening Media and Society programme welcomed representatives from 20 media organisations from the MENA region, including Almal, Al-Masry Al-Youm, El Badil, Ekbary, Mada Masr, Masrawi, Mubtada, Noun, Shorouk, Youm7, Wlad Elbalad and Zahma (Egypt); Al Ghad, Amman Net, Anamram and 7iber (Jordan); and Alhayat Aljadida, Filastiniyat, WAFA and (Palestine).


WAN-IFRA's Strengthening Media and Society Programme is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.



Hedvig Lundstrom's picture

Hedvig Lundstrom


2016-04-22 14:15

Contact information

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...