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In collaboration with Media Association for Peace (MAP): Conference on Media, Peace and Human Rights

by Salam Al-Zahran, Philipp Bremer

Two Day Conference on the Media's Role in Fighting Corruption and Fostering Civil Peace, Freedom of Expression and Democracy in Lebanon, the Middle East and North Africa

On the 29th and 30th of November 2021, the Media Association for Peace (MAP) in partnership with the Rule of Law Programme Middle East & North Africa of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and UNIC Beirut, organized and hosted the "Media, Peace and Human Rights Annual Regional Conference 2021" at the Lancaster Hotel Plaza in Beirut, Lebanon.

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The conference aimed to highlight the media's role in human rights, peace, and stability in Lebanon and the MENA region, as well as journalists' safety, freedom, and independence in reporting on democracy, human rights, and peace journalism.

The opening Remarks started with Ms. Vanessa Bassil, Founder & President, Media Association for Peace (MAP). She stated that through this conference, MAP reiterates its commitment to creating a free environment for conversation and the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and to finding cooperative solutions to the impediments affecting the rights of every human being.

Following that, Mr. Philipp Bremer, Director of the Rule of Law Programme Middle East & North Africa, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), introduced the audience to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and its programs in Lebanon and the region. Further, he underlined the importance of the media as a fourth power as well as the freedoms of expression and press as core values of democratic and free societies - seeing as free media, on the one hand, means diversity and richness of different media outlets and opinions, on the other hand, also means a shared respect for these various media outlets, shared respect for democratic rights and values, and individual freedom rights.

The first day encountered two panels:

Panel I - Media, Peace & Security: Media’s Role in Times of Crisis & Violent Incidents, moderated by the journalist Youmna Fawaz. The speakers were Dr. George Sadaka, Professor in Information Sciences and former Dean of Faculty of Information at Lebanese University; Mr. Yasser Akkaoui, publisher at Executive Magazine; Mrs. Fadwa Chtourou, a reporter at the Tunisian National Television and Tarek Khater, lawyer and defender of journalists’ rights in Egypt.

Panel II - Media, Peace & the Rule of Law: Media’s Role in Fighting Corruption & Fostering Accountability, moderated by Dr. Nataly Eklimos, a journalist and university instructor. The speakers were Dr. André Sleiman, country representative at Democracy Reporting International (DRI); Layal Bou Moussa, journalist at Al Jadeed TV; Omar Kabboul, Project Technical Officer at Anti-Corruption for Trust in Lebanon project, United Nations for Development Program (UNDP) and Mohammed Yahya Gahlan, investigative journalist and Executive Director at Yemeni Network for Investigative Journalism.

 

The second day encountered two panels:

Panel III - Media, Peace & Liberties: Press Freedom & the Safety of Journalists, moderated by the journalist Rachel Karam. The speakers were Elsy Moufarrej, journalist and general coordinator of the Alternative Syndicate of the Press Group, Khalid Ibrahim, Executive Director at the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and Ibrahim Serhan, lawyer & legal consultant in Bahrain.

Panel IV - Media, Peace & Democracy: Reporting on Elections & Enhancing Civil & Political Rights, moderated by Abbas Zalzali, news anchor & Talk-Show host at NBN TV. The speakers were Bassam Abou Zeid, President of the Press Club and Aly Sleem, Executive Director at the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

 

All panels were followed by Q & A and a lively discussion.

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