In this unit, we seek to strengthen and improve the skills of the Palestinian community in Israel (PCI) in the field of media. I’lam aims to increase social awareness about the media’s significance in shaping the lives of the PCI, and to protect and promote the rights of the community. Our primary target groups are journalists and other media practitioners, and members of the community, particularly youth and women.
These missions stem from I’lam’s belief in the importance of democracy —freedom of speech, freedom of the press, pluralism, respect for all in society.
The unit has several goals: integrating the values of democracy into the education system, fostering widespread respect for human rights, protecting all basic freedoms both within and outside Arab society in Israel, advancing professionalism in journalism, and creating an awareness in society of the media’s role in shaping public policy. Acknowledging that the media shapes opinion by concentrating its resources on certain perspectives, I’lam’s goal is also to transform the media into a driving force for the positive development of society. We also seek to improve journalists’ work conditions materially and to fully implementing among journalists the statutes defined in the Code of Ethics we instituted for journalists.
1a. Training and Supporting Professionalism for Arab Journalists
I’lam works to develop general professional and communication skills in the PCI. Arab journalists and Arab media outlets, for this reason, are paramount. Our central purpose is to establish an ethical work culture for Arab journalists in Israel, and to make the Arab media's role significant in shaping public opinion. The Center functions with this goal in mind throughout its operations year round.
I’lam conducts educational courses for reporters. Dozens of journalists partake in these courses that cover the subjects of editing, building news stories, photography, the use of social media and other internet technology, and specialized reporting on gender sensitivity, human rights journalism, conflict sensitive journalism, and journalism specializing in environmental and economic issues.
I’lam ensures that all courses are taught by Palestinian experts in the media field. For example, several courses are held in collaboration with Birzeit University’s communications unit, as well as with local Israeli institutions.
Alongside these aspects of its operations, I’lam organizes tours for dozens of journalists in order to demonstrate to them the situation faced by PCI journalists. Representatives of the Israeli press also participate in these tours, opening the door to cross-cultural discussions of this Palestinian issue.
1b. Media Education for Youth
Media Education for student youth is conducted through study groups in local Arab high schools. The program offers students lectures and professional workshops, teaching them to understand media concerns and operations. Through this program, students learn how to be critical media consumers, and how to classify different types of media content.
The media consumption education project was initially held in two schools. Thanks to its success, the project was expanded to include five schools in 2013, just four years after it began. The project reaches students from various backgrounds, geographical areas, and fields of study.