Event Reports

Workshop on media usage for Lebanese and Syrian youngsters in Qaa

On the 18th and 19th of November 2017, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Dawaer Foundation organized a workshop in Qaa for Lebanese and Syrian youngsters around the topic of media usage. The workshop taught the young people how to handle media and media content critically, thereby protecting them against hate speech and digital campaigns by extremist groups on the internet and via social media. At the end of the workshop, the newly acquired knowledge was applied as part of a practical project.

81% of Lebanese children and youth use internet without any supervision and a significant amount among them plays violent video games. The promotion of violence through media and video games conveys the image to the youth that violence is an appropriate way to solve conflicts, which might result in increased aggression and a long-term change in behaviour. Furthermore, extremists use the internet and social media platforms as a tool to spread their propaganda and gain support among young people.

The two-day-workshop targeted Lebanese and Syrian youth between 16-22 years as this age group is the most vulnerable to media messages that incite hate, discrimination and human rights’ violations. The youngsters were not only instructed in understanding the underlying forces that contribute to shaping those messages, but also in how to authenticate information, how photos can be manipulated and the importance of online responsibility and privacy. In addition, they learned how to produce and edit videos and had the opportunity to apply their knowledge directly by the production of alternative and positive media messages. In order to expand the reach of the workshop, the youth taped their efforts and disseminated them on social and traditional media platforms.

Overall, this workshop significantly improved the young people’s media literacy and equipped them with skills to critically and sceptically analyse media messages they encounter on a daily basis. Moreover, the workshop strengthened the mutual understanding of the Syrian and Lebanese youth and contributed to the early detection and prevention of conflicts between both groups.