Productive meeting between media funders and freelancers
Over a dozen Jordanian freelance journalists had a rare opportunity to engage with funding organizations interested in supporting independent media.
The event which took place at the Community Media Network in offices was initiated by Sahafa Med, a project implemented by the French Association Journalisme & Citoyenneté (Journalism and Citizenship) that is focused on helping foster independent journalism in the southern Mediterranean area. Sahafa Med is funded by the European Union.
“In this framework, we organize different types of activities: National Meetings gathering journalists, media development actors and donors, and the Assises (Symposium) of Journalism in Tunis, Tours (France) and Brussels”, said Cristina L’Homme, journalist, correspondent for Sahafa Med.
Daoud Kuttab, the director general of Community Media Network encouraged the participants to speak out about their challenges and to find ways to work together in order to protect each other and ensure that their hard work is protected. “There is a lack of respect to intellectual property and the working of freelance journalists and therefore it is important that you organize yourself for protection and advancement.”
Rawan Jayousi, founder and director of MADRAJ FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ENTREPRENEURSHIP " support organization and a co-organizer of the event spoke about the need to support independent journalists and help them find work opportunities. “Freelance journalists should be able to have opportunities’ to set up their own digital platforms and media startups as well as to find opportunities for networking with others in order to be able to protect themselves.
Participants spoke about the difficulties that they are facing both on the financial and work levels. Journalists spoke about some media outlets not respecting their intellectual property rights and that in many cases it takes a long time to be paid for commissioned journalistic work. They also said that they face difficulties because the type of stories they are able to get a commission for usually have an element of controversy. Some also complained that funders have a specific agenda that is not always of interest to the local community or to that of the freelance journalists. They also said that because they are not members of the Jordan Press Association, they face difficulties sometimes in getting officials to speak to them or to have access to locations that they would like to cover.
Funding organizations that included the Open Society Foundations, CFI, UNESCO, Internews and European Endowment for Democracy and European Union said that they learned a lot from the three-hour meeting and that they will try to gear their programs towards freelance journalists.
The attendees agreed to set up a Media Forum that will help freelance journalists better organize themselves and obtain the necessary press cards from the International Federation of Journalists.