Gaza Youth on Air for the Youth on Screen Workshop
“Reema, could we take a break from all the activities until the end of the month? We are exhausted with the organization of all these events!” joked Ali at the end of the second and last day of the Youth on Screen workshop. The event was organized on 23-24 November 2015 in Ramallah, Palestine, by two projects funded by the European Union, NET-MED Youth (implemented by UNESCO) and MedMedia (implemented by a consortium led by BBC Media Action) and saw the participation via video conference of the NET-MED Youth media working group in Gaza.
“We have successfully met our goal,” answered with a smile Reema Salem, Coordinator of the NET-MED Youth in Gaza, who with the assistance of the eight members of the team, had spared no effort in planning and implementing everything. “Your participation was great, the discussions were rich and constructive. You can do anything you want now, but we will soon reconvene to continue our activities.”
The first session of the workshop opened with a video produced by the members of the media working group in Gaza. In front of the camera, they shared their needs and expectations from national broadcasters. The attendance was impressed by the content aired, particularly that it converged with many themes lined up for discussion that day in relation to youth representation in media content and their participation in its production.
Soon after a calm discussion came a brainstorming of ideas and questions that sparked the participation of the Gaza members with their diverse backgrounds and interests. Reema highlighted the importance of national broadcast media in the life of youth, its role as an educational tool and its value in being a common medium for the family as opposed to social media.
“We have to regain the status of TV,” she said. “But before that, it will have to overcome its challenges so it can lead a successful mission.”
Building up on this idea, Ali Bakheet who is the president of the social media club, a member of NET-MED Youth, and an avid fan of everything digital, stressed the importance of creating linkages between national TV and social media. Ali defended that TV should accompany the new needs of youth in a digital age.
Since he had filmed and produced the Gaza team’s video, Motaz Alaaraj, photographer, videographer and member of NET-MED Youth, could not contain his pride saying that “In six hours and given the quality of our equipment and techniques, we, youth, filmed, produced and translated the video you saw earlier. This is exactly what national TV needs: modern art technology and well-equipped high-quality broadcast studios.”
The main challenge became more prominent during the second session: youth had to come up with a proposal for a TV program and submit it to the review of the BBC experts and the attendance. After several exchanges and consultations that lasted for three days, there was finally a consensus.
“It is enriching to be part of this Youth on Screen meeting,” said Rola Abu Hashem, journalist and NET-MED Youth member. “As young journalists we have definitely learned new skills, like the ways to reflect on youth issues and needs and to present them to viewers in diverse ways. This meeting has definitely reconciled us with national TV and the value of watching it.”
The youth proposed a new idea for a talk show where four young women and men in their 20’s and living in the same city discuss topics like social relationships, education, volunteering, employment, the fight against extremism, and more. The program will aim at encouraging positive attitude among youth in dealing with their everyday lives and environments so they can lead a safe and desired life.
A noticeable smile was painted on the faces of Noor, Narmine, Rola, Ansam, Saer, Khalil and Motaz when the experts applauded the proposal. They described it as the best and most interactive format Palestinian TV could hope for to reach a wider audience, because through the program youth talk to youth directly and encourage optimism and a positive leap on the challenges.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.