World Association of News Publishers

Arab Free Press Forum


Arab Free Press Forum


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Introduction to Programme

Download the full programme here


For 2013 we will build on the previous five editions of the Forum and take it to a new, innovative level that will see expert discussions followed by focused, interactive, outcome-based workshops on a diverse range of themes and issues, and with a particular emphasis on including female speakers and trainers as well as case studies from women-owned, operated or led media organisations. The emphasis will be on underlining the importance of ‘independence’ for both the newsroom/editorial line and wider business operations, in order to provide the most favourable conditions for the freedom of the press.


In each Forum session a range of themes will examine particular areas of concern to the independent Arab press, and through a diverse programme we aim to take a holistic look at the entire media eco-system, highlighting the inter-connected nature of each element and promoting strategies aimed at strengthening independence:


1: Professional standards to strengthen editorial autonomy

  • Strategies for establishing credible news and regaining public trust, particularly in critical or crisis situations
  • Practicing ethical journalism and ensuring editorial quality while maintaining independence
  • Local and hyper-local news models
  • Utilising citizen journalism and social media in news production
  • Education and training – addressing the critical needs of next generation news producers; ensuring best practice in today’s newsrooms

2: Sustainable businesses key to independence of professional media

  • Integrating and monetising social media and video in the newsroom
  • Issues surrounding the viability and sustainability of modern publishing houses
  • New revenue and business models for media outlets
  • Approaching investors and funders with a viable business plan
  • Self-regulation and codes of ethics
  • Advertising – access to/distribution of, alternative models for future growth
  • Examining the pluralised structure of news – choosing the right model for success


3: Innovation

  • Content evolution and business development strategies
  • Issues surrounding audience engagement via digital platforms
  • New technologies and their impact on the newsroom


4: Legislative barriers to independence

  • Identifying restrictive legislation and examining the legal reforms necessary
  • Constitutional guarantees for the freedom of the press
  • Case studies on utilising Freedom on Information and/or Access to Information laws / Advocating for the introduction of FOI legislation


5: Safety

  • Discussion on the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
  • Implementing safety protocols in the newsroom; ensuring top-down buy-in for the protection of journalists

Sunday 24 November – Tuesday 26 November 2013

Tunis, Tunisia











Session 1 6.30pm



Day 1, Sunday 24 November


Participant arrival and registration


Networking Café & NGO consultations. 


Opening cocktail reception at Golden Tulip Hotel.

Exhibition of Tunisian Cartoonists




Day 2, Monday 25 November


Registration and Networking Café

Morning tea served



Session 2



OPENING: WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Film


Introduction: Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA




Session 3



Opening Expert Conversation 


Session title: Burning Issues for the Independent Arab Press

  • Ethics and professionalism – from owners to journalists, professionalization across the entire media industry
  • Business and innovation – moving the industry forward while securing its future
  • Legislation and barriers to greater freedoms – where should advocacy be focused?
  • Independence – what does it mean, what are its key components, and how do we measure it?
  • Training and education – encouraging young professionals, ensuring quality and excellence



Courtney Radsch, UNESCO programme specialist


Omar Belhouchet, Publisher, El Watan Algeria
Rana Sabbagh
, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism
Kamel Labidi, Vigilance, Tunisia
Tarek Atia, Egyptian Media Development Programme



Session 4



Storyful: How to separate fact and fiction online – is it news or is it noise?

Malachy Browne, News Editor, Storyful








Session 5




Session title:  The Media Ecosystem – Ensuring Independence and Survival

  • Learning from hyper-localisation, connecting better with audiences, delivering successful content
  • Differences within the modern information structure - choosing the right platform for news delivery
  • Utilising social media and citizen journalism in news production
  • Using satire to tell your story


Moderator: Tarek Atia, Egyptian Media Development Programme


Sami Ben Gharbia,
Leila Nachawati,
Syria Untold, Professor of Communications at Carlos III University Madrid
Nicolas Beau, Editor, Bakchich
Fatemah Farag Founder and Director, Welad Elbalad Media Services

Included in this session:
Monetizing Social Media - A Mini Master-class, which will introduce innovative ways to monetize social media and contribute to the sustainability of independent media. Through a series of case studies, UNESCO expert Courtney Radsch will provide practical tips for leveraging the full potential of social media







Session 5




Ethics and Self Regulation – the keys to a successful independent press.

Addressing legislative barriers; advocating for self-regulation and promoting strong professional ethics to empower quality investigative journalism



Aidan White, Ethical Journalism Network


Najiba Hamrouni, General Secretary of the Tunisian Journalists’ Union
Hisham Almiraat
, Global Voices Advocacy Director and co-founder of TalkMorocco and Mamfakinch
Ragaei al-Merghany, General Coordinator of the National Coalition for Freedom of the Media

Dr Naglaa El-Emary is with and is a Publisher of articles and studies in media.




6:30 - 7:30pm


Networking Café


StoryMaker Master-Class

Interested in mobile technology and digital storytelling? Come join the StoryMaker Masters Class. Open to journalists, bloggers, techies and everyone interested in telling stories through their mobile phones




8.00am – 9:30am


Day 3 Tuesday 25 November


Networking Café





Presentation of WAN-IFRA’s new report - Online Commenting: Emerging Best Practices

Larry Kilman, WAN-IFRA




Session 7




Opening Expert Conversation:


Title: Media in transitional democracies: Is their role to report the news or lead the news agenda through activism? 


Moderator:  Riadh Ferjani


Fatimah el-Issawi, research fellow at POLIS, London School of Economics
David Hoffman, Founder and President Emeritus Internews, author of "Citizens Rising: Independent Journalism and the Spread of Democracy"
Magdi Abdelhadi, Freelance journalist and former Arab affairs analyst for the BBC
Rami Jarrah, Award-winning citizen journalist and founder of the ANA New-Media Association.




Coffee Break



Session 8

12:00 pm


Under Surveillance - A “Mini Master-class” with Alan Pearce.

Journalism has been transformed by the Internet and the Internet has opened journalists to levels of surveillance that would have horrified George Orwell. All journalists should be aware of the dangers they face in the digital world – the emerging battleground.  This workshop will take an in depth practical view about how to safeguard sources and information.


* Please bring your laptop


For those not wishing to take part in this workshop, the networking café is open and this is a great time to meet with your colleagues.





“Lunch and Learn”

The UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

What do independent journalists feel are the main threats? Help inform the UN Action Plan and take steps to implement it in your country. Hosted by Courtney Radsch, UNESCO



Session 9





Canal France Internationale organsied panel: How multi-media newsrooms can enrich your content.


Nour Hemici, Canal France Internationale



Nabil Wakim, Editor-in-Chief,
Fathy Abu Hattab, Al Masry Al Youm







Session 10



What next for the Arab Free Press?

Q&A and discussion bringing together the major themes from our debates.

Moderated by: Magdi Abdelhadi, Freelance journalist and former Arab affairs analyst for the BBC


Session 10

5:15 – 5:30pm








 In addition:


Closing Keynote



Networking café

The networking café will continue to be open on the morning of Wednesday 27th November.


StoryMaker Master-Class

Interested in mobile technology and digital storytelling? Come join the StoryMaker Masters Class. Open to journalists, bloggers, techies and everyone interested in telling stories through their mobile phones.


21, 22, 23 November

Ethical Journalism Network

Seminar on ethics for Arab journalists (with Norwegian Institute of Journalism)




Language switcher

Date and Location

  • 24 Nov 2013 - 26 Nov 2013

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