Journalists from Gulf and Germany: the dialogue deepens

By Christopher Springate (dialogue moderator)

During three intensive days in Kuwait City, the participants of DW Akademie’s media dialogue between journalists from the Gulf region and Germany picked up where they left off during their first exchange in Berlin last May. Building on the cordial atmosphere of the May dialogue, they focused this time on the Qatar diplomatic crisis, examining a conflict that’s driven a deep wedge into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

For more, watch this short film by our crossmedia-editor Nicolas Martin.

Qatar Crisis: what’s changed for the media?

By Turki Al Belushi (Oman), Esraa Jawfar (Kuwait) and Karim Helaifi (Germany)

The 6-month-old Qatar Crisis has been a shocking moment for all countries in the region. The crisis was unexpected, erupting during Ramadan, the holiest period in the Islamic calendar. The media in all member-countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been deeply affected by the crisis, except those in Oman and Kuwait which have taken on the role of mediators trying in the crisis. Read more →

Qatar Crisis sends shock waves through region’s media

By Nazeeha Saeed, Bahrain

June 5th 2017 was a day of profound disruption for the media in the Gulf countries. They changed on a large scale when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain decided to boycott Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and going against the line of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The boycotting nations also withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, called on their nationals to return home, requested Qatari nationals to leave and blocked Qatari media.

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Al Jazeera and the Qatar Crisis – a view from within

Al Jazeera producer al-Mokhtar Ablawi (Qatar) talks to Arafat al-Majed (Saudi Arabia) and Christoph Dinkelaker (Germany)

What are the consequences of the Qatar Crisis for journalism?

I still don’t understand how this Qatar Crisis began. I can only say that ever since the situation in the Arab World has become worse. What we are witnessing is a war of terminology: in our Al Jazeera team, we consider the acts of Saudi Arabia and its allies as a blockade and an embargo whereas media in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain do not term it that way.

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More context means less hate, says German-Palestinian intellectual

Report by Rania Younes (Lebanon), Nagham Nasser (Qatar), Fernando Gutiérrez (Germany/Mexico), Karim El-Helaifi (Germany)

The German-Palestinian intellectual Loay Mudhoon says better reporting of cultural contexts has helped de-escalate disputes between the Arab and western worlds. Addressing DW Akademie’s Gulf Region media dialogue this week, Mudhoon said a deeper portrayal of context during religious-cultural disputes in the media of both regions has led to more moderate popular reactions.

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“Why isn’t Germany playing a bigger role?”

A fictional conversation, by Jassem Alqames (Kuwait) and Christiane Kreder (Germany)

JASSIM: “For someone from a Gulf country, Germany has always seemed remote, Christiane. Unlike the Americans or the British, the biggest impact Germany has on our daily lives is German cars and other “quality products”. Our relationship to the Germans is restricted to German products and materials. To us, the people, Germany is just another business partner and nothing more. But in a world full of conflicts and challenges, and while many countries are trying to exercise their influence to advance their values and often their interests, why isn’t Germany playing a bigger role in world politics, Christiane?” Read more →

Informer, entertainer, activist? The role of journalists in society

Report by Christiane Kreder (Germany)

Informing the public, catching the interest of the audience and holding political institutions to account – those are some examples of the expectations journalists are often confronted with. But, in daily life, media organisations have to set priorities concerning what they want their work to be about. So, what is the role of modern journalists in society? And what problems do we face when having to meet all those expectations? Here’s a summary of our discussions. Read more →

“A space to talk freely” – DW’s Shabab Talk

Report by Fernando Gutiérrez (Germany/Mexico), Jassem Alqames (Kuwait), Turki Al Balushi (Oman) and Yalda Zarbakhch (Germany)

”We give Arab youth a space to talk freely”, says Jaafar Abdul Karim, the host of DW´s popular talk-show ‘Shabab Talk’. The show touches on topics which other Arab media often fail to cover or consider taboo, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the LGBT community and sexual freedom. During DW Akademie’s Media Dialogue, we visited DW’s Berlin headquarters and met Jaafar to find out more about the workflows, topics and challenges he faces when producing Shabab Talk. Read more →

Digital Security: You aren’t safe, even if your mobile’s off

Report by Amani al Masqati (Bahrain) and Christiane Kreder (Germany)

One of the key inputs during our Media Dialogue was an entire morning with Daniel Mossbrucker, an expert on digital security with Reporters Without Borders. We could easily have filled two days with the subject, but what was absolutely clear: none of us is doing enough to stay safe in the digital world. We found out from Daniel that spies can be watching you … even if your mobile’s switched off!

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Getting to know each other – what conditions do you work under?

Report by Yalda Zarbakhch (Germany), Mohammed Alrizqui (Saudi Arabia) and Hamood al Breiki (Oman)

An important part of our Media Dialogue was finding out about each other’s media landscapes, which could not be more different. For many of the German participants, it was humbling to hear about the conditions our colleagues in the Gulf work under. Those include a lack of information sources, limited freedom, challenges in the area of independence and objectivity, as well as difficulties for many journalists to find enough funding. Meanwhile, Germany also has some issues to resolve: many of its media organisations lack diversity for instance, while the country also needs to make more progress in its freedom of information legislation.

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Seeing Germany through Arab eyes

Report by Nazeeha Saeed (Bahrain), Mohammed Alrizqui (Saudi Arabia) and Karim El-Helaifi (Germany)

Reality is always a question of perspective, and to enrich our understanding, we spent an afternoon getting the perspective of one of the Arab world’s longest-serving Berlin correspondents: Itedal Salameh.

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Germany’s Federal Press Conference: “It’s really unique”

Personal impressions from Hamood Al-Breiki (Oman)

Among the highlights of DW Akademie’s Gulf region media dialogue this week was a great visit to the “Bundespressekonferenz”, the Federal Press Conference. This place is really boosting the role of media and journalism, and creating transparency between people, government and media, as well as enhancing the Fourth Estate which is not activated in many Arab countries. Read more →

At the heart of German politics

Personal impressions from El Mokhtar El Aballaoui (Qatar)

Editors, journalists, studio managers, camera operators, IT technicians and schedulers – all bouncing around DW’s parliamentary offices in the “Haus der Bundespressekonferenz (Federal Press Conference) in central Berlin. For more than 17 years, they’ve been covering German politics from here, with a clear view of the Bundestag and the chancellor’s office through their windows.

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“An ethical approach”

By Christopher Springate, media dialogue moderator

Discussing journalistic ethics and standards is an important part of DW Akademie’s work across the world, and almost always provokes some of the most interesting debates when we interact with colleagues abroad. What’s always astonished me is that there is actually a broad consensus among us journalists on what our ethics and standards should be. Whether I’ve been in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Latin America, we often agree on the theory of what constitutes ethical journalism. Below you will find a summary of what my input has been to those discussions … and then a word or two on implementation.

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