Baghdad, Iraq – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq has released a handbook on citizen journalism following an intensive training program for young media professionals on various topics including citizen journalism tools, ethical journalism, and conflict-sensitive reporting to promote social cohesion in Iraq. The Media and Advocacy component of UNDP Iraq’s Social Cohesion Programme seeks to promote unity between societal groups through use of social media platforms, nation-wide competitions, media stories, and the training and capacity building of media professionals in general, with a focus on youth.
The Use of Citizen Journalism Tools to Promote Social Cohesion is a handbook designed for young media professionals, students, and academics as a reference point for citizen journalism tools, helping to facilitate the creation of products that contribute to positive, solutions-oriented journalism in Iraq. Available online, copies of the handbook will also be distributed to media faculties, students, and media professionals in Arabic and Kurdish.
Launched in December 2020, UNDP Iraq’s Citizen Journalism Project encourages and supports 120 young Iraqi journalists, bloggers, and social media activists from Baghdad, Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Dhi Qar, Najaf, Karbala and the Kurdistan Region, implemented in partnership with Tammuz Organization for Social Development and Sabaq Center for Media Development.
The second phase of the citizen journalism project will include roundtable discussions for media representatives on the media landscape in Iraq and a short film contest related to social cohesion and diversity in Iraqi communities. These activities will complement the online platform Diversity (or “Tanawo3” in Arabic) launched collectively by participants to share their stories, photographs and videos related to peacebuilding and community cohesion in Iraq.
UNDP Iraq Resident Representative Zena Ali Ahmad states, “With a media landscape that is constantly shifting toward a greater focus on online journalism, supporting Iraq’s citizen journalists is vital to ensuring well-rounded and informed reporting. With the launch of this handbook and platform, all Iraqis can participate in sharing stories from their diverse communities. We are grateful to the Government of Denmark for their support in funding this important initiative.”
In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq, and working with media and citizen journalism is identified as one of the key priority areas under this programme.
Miriam Pineau, Media & Advocacy Project Specialist | +964 790 110 1982