‘Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research’
I’lam Becomes the ‘Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research’
The media landscape is changing. The dramatic increase in the use of new media in particular is a prime example of the digital zeitgeist, and has turned ‘ordinary’ citizens with ideas, internet access and mobile phones into citizen journalists. Their on-the-ground contribution to media has been seen clearly in recent years, from Hong Kong to Egypt to Wall Street. New links have been formed between campaign ventures and new forms of technology in media to spread important socio-political messages to huge audiences in an instant.
The rise of civic journalism, and of interest and awareness of the media’s power to bring about social change, make I’lam’s role in training and educating journalists even more relevant and necessary. But the changing landscape is also causing I’lam to develop projects in fields other than that of classical media. In recent years we have become more engaged in research at local and national levels, and in producing publications on broader topics, in particular human rights and peace issues, which have gained traction in the world of media. We have also widened our scope of training and education projects into fields such as leadership, as can be seen in our current young leadership project.
As a result of these changes, we are changing our name and adapting our mission in order to reflect the expansion of our goals, activities, and their relevance to the needs of society. I’lam’s organizational title will now be: Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research.
I’lam strives to work in ways that enhance the rights of the Palestinian community in Israel (PCI) in basic areas of life, developing a more empowered, expressive, and engaged generation of leaders who are able to represent and promote these basic rights and interests of the PCI. The use of ‘Development’ in the new title represents these needs and the way I’lam has broadened its operations to meet such needs.
But ‘Media Freedom’ is also important for this kind of expression. “Media freedoms in Israel have been under attack for a long period of time”, says I’lam General Director Amal Jamal. “Those freedoms within the PCI especially have been targeted as endangering Israeli interests. The spaces for freedom of expression have been shrinking, also due to the fusion of corporate and political interests. The political and economic changes in the media scene have made us rethink our mission, and think of ways in which we can best protect our media freedoms and other values we appreciate”.
The new title therefore more accurately reflects I’lam’s daily operations, which have widened to incorporate a range of new aspects in the broad fields of development and research, as well as the media. It gives interested parties a snapshot of what we stand for and work towards as an organization.