It had been hoped that many Arab countries would embrace democracy following the Arab Spring protest movements, but such a transition has gradually given way to situations of crisis and increased doubts over the new rulers installed following the elections. In the most fragile regions, such as Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the concepts of free speech and freedom of the press are often ridiculed and ignored. Physical threats and risks of coercion now form part of the day-to-day lives of journalists. Under such conditions, it is very difficult for them to lead the democratic debate that is needed to make their countries stable, and to contribute to national reconciliation.
However, the media have a vital role to play. The media landscapes of these countries have changed significantly in the past few years, with a greater awareness of the right to freedom of opinion and expression creating new challenges, which the media must now tackle head on.
The ILYM (Iraq Libya Yemen Media) project is offering Iraqi, Libyan and Yemeni journalists a series of meetings during which they will review their experience as journalists and how it is possible to respond to such contexts of crisis. Its objective is to analyse in depth the roles played and stances adopted by the media during the ongoing crises in these three countries, by bringing together news professionals and outside observers (French and international journalists and researchers).
During the various seminars, which will take place in Paris, these media professionals will have the opportunity to discuss their day-to-day difficulties, to share good practices and to take stock of the role they play in witnessing and making sense of these crises against the context of ongoing political instability.
The diversity of attendees and their approaches will allow ILYM to provide space for reflection for news professionals, enabling them to consider their own practices, and an analytical tool for identifying ways in which to contribute to democratic debate in countries in crisis.
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Twelve experienced Iraqi, Libyan and Yemeni journalists working for Arabic-language general news media in their respective countries.
A one-day inaugural orientation meeting, at AFP's offices in Paris
bringing together the selected journalists and French guests (journalists, diplomats, researchers, students) with an interest in the situation of the media in Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
The 12 Iraqi, Libyan and Yemeni journalists involved in the ILYM projectNovember 10, 2015
A better understanding of the media in Iraq, Libya and YemenNovember 10, 2015
What role should the media play in countries in crisis?November 10, 2015
A series of four seminars for strategic reflection, over the course of two days
bringing the selected journalists together in Paris and involving shared reflection sessions and also exchanges of experiences and good practices.
Freedom of expression on the agenda at the second ILYM seminarFebruary 24, 2016
A programme of meetings with the French media
(including AFP, France 24, Le Monde, Mediapart, Radio France, etc.) and meetings with institutions (Foreign & International Development Ministry, National Assembly, etc.).
Establishing remote monitoring between the various sessions
provided by journalists and specialists, in particular from the Balkans and the Arab world.