New media and newly developed communication practices, namely e-press, social networks and blogs, alongside traditional media as newspapers, television and radio, are now a key factor in the process of building societies. These mediums are nowadays transforming virtual revolutions, found online through political ideas and national expressions, into a reality lived by each and every Arab country.
Realizing their impact and capacity in crossing all borders, politicians and youth aspiring to change are making best use of these new means of mass communication. However, this is where some civil society and international organizations still lack effective presence and have inadequate relationships with media institutions. The latter are not doing their job in highlighting the work of such organizations, including efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN General Assembly in 2000.
This problem was discussed during a weeklong training of trainers and professionals organized by ESCWA in cooperation with the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and the Center of Arab Woman for Training and Research. The session was titled “Integrating MDGs in national planning and accelerating their achievement until 2015,” and benefited professionals from civil society and international organizations and media representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.
Participants were trained on the MDGs and the framework for their achievement through policies, programs and media. Media representatives criticized civil society and international organizations for their use of language that is not understood by all recipients, in addition to the lack of a clear media plan for all their activities. For their part, professionals from civil society and international organizations said that media institutions tend most of the times to cover political news and some other times entertainment information and they look for scandals instead of adopting clear development issues. Discussions also revolved around what media require from civil society and international organizations, namely a continued long-term cooperation in preparing media plans for each activity or high-level meeting to be agreed upon by both parties. Participants requested training media people on how to properly use MDGs-related terminology with their interpretation. They concluded by stressing the importance of integrating MDGs in the media world, and the need to write in a new way when approaching civil society and international organizations related news.