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Al-Fanar Media and Ford Foundation Collaborate in Media Literacy Initiative

CAIRO—Al-Fanar Media, an independent nonprofit news organisation focused on education, research, and culture in the Arab region, has received a grant from the Ford Foundation to launch a project aimed at promoting media literacy among university students in the Arab world.

The initiative, which will include leading educational institutions and experts, strives to equip young Arabs with essential skills to navigate the intricate world of media effectively.

The proliferation of social media has ushered in an era where young people spend substantial time engaging with digital content, highlighting the pivotal role that media plays in shaping perspectives and influencing lives. Al-Fanar Media recognises the significance of media literacy in this context and is committed to empowering young people to understand, assess, and respond to the information they consume.

Nadia El-Gowely, executive director of Al-Fanar Media, said: “The aim of this initiative is to help students to be informed participants of civic life and positive change. Al-Fanar Media is determined to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of media’s mechanisms, production processes, and the origins of news consumed by young individuals. Through developing critical thinking skills, participants will discern credible sources, identify bias, and appreciate the significance of fact-based reporting and verification.”

Saba Almubaslat, director of the Ford Foundation’s Middle East and North Africa office, said: “Media literacy education enables members of society to understand media and acquire skills in using media to communicate with others. Ford Foundation looks forward to partnering with Al-Fanar Media to help young people understand how, and why, the news they consume is produced, where it comes from, and how they can become informed contributors in the modern media landscape.” 

“Al-Fanar Media is determined to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of media’s mechanisms, production processes, and the origins of news consumed by young individuals. Through developing critical thinking skills, participants will discern credible sources, identify bias, and appreciate the significance of fact-based reporting and verification.”

Nadia El-Gowely, executive director of Al-Fanar Media

Al-Fanar will run six workshops for up to 15 Arab students each at four locations across the Arab region over the next 18 months. The workshops will be held in Amman, Cairo, Jeddah, and Rabat.

The project also envisions hosting webinars and podcasts on media-literacy topics and publishing an interactive online manual in Arabic. There will also be a training course for university professors to encourage them to include media literacy in their curricula so that more students can benefit from this project.

Al-Fanar Media holds a unique position to champion media literacy in the Arab world. As a trusted platform, it engages extensively with students and maintains strategic partnerships with influential organisations such as UNIMED, the Mediterranean Universities Union. These connections will amplify the impact of the media-literacy initiative and enable it to resonate effectively within the academic community.

“Ford Foundation looks forward to partnering with Al-Fanar Media to help young people understand how, and why, the news they consume is produced, where it comes from, and how they can become informed contributors in the modern media landscape.”

Saba Almubaslat, director of the Ford Foundation’s Middle East and North Africa office.

Al-Fanar Media was created ten years ago as a project of the Alexandria Trust, a London-based nonprofit organisation dedicated to advancing educational access and quality in the Arab region. Through its initiatives, Al-Fanar Media strives to promote dialogue, understanding, and progress within the region’s academic and cultural spheres.

The New York-based Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice is one of the largest charity endowments in the world. The foundation believes in the dignity of all people and that inequality is the biggest challenge of our time.

For more information about the new media-literacy initiative and to join hands with Al-Fanar Media in fostering media literacy among Arab young people, please contact Jo Weir, Al-Fanar Media’s head of partnerships, at [email protected].

For media inquiries, please contact Mohamed El-Hawary, Al-Fanar Media editor, at [email protected]

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