New Undergraduate Course on the Safety of Journalists Sees the Day in Palestine
Palestinian university journalism students will soon learn about ways they can protect themselves from violence and threats while practicing their craft.
UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) developed a new syllabus on the safety of journalists specifically for the Arab region.
"The safety of journalists is an especially important issue here in Palestine where we do not have the minimum standards of safety. We have seen many examples on Facebook and other social media platforms where journalists have been attacked. We need to ensure journalists’ safety and prepare the new graduates before they move to the field,” says Dina Hawah, a graduate student from An-Najah University.
At a national seminar held at the end of September 2016, heads of media departments at six universities in Palestine expressed their willingness to pilot the new syllabus. The universities present were An-Najah, Al-Quds, Bethlehem, Birzeit, Hebron and Modern University College.
“BZU would like to be the first university in the Arab World to pilot the course and serve as an example for other universities in the region and beyond”, says Juman Quneis, Dean of the Media Section at Birzeit University (BZU). “This course is very important for our students because they are working in a dangerous area and it will help limit the risks to which future journalists are exposed.”
“UNESCO has made the safety of journalists one of its priority areas, and this course is developed within the framework of the implementation of the UN Plan of Action which UNESCO has been mandated to lead,” says Saorla McCabe, Programme Specialist at UNESCO, who further explains that this will be the first time that a Palestinian university teaching journalism includes the component of the safety of journalists as part of its regular curriculum.
The course is expected to start in february 2017, and will complement the new courses under development: Media Law, Media Ethics and Media and Gender.
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.