Qatar media watchdog to set up journalism training centre

May 4, 2011

A Doha-based media watchdog said that it would set up a non-profit training centre within four months.

“We are in the process of designing a training programme, which in the first place, will be geared to the local media whose needs are being studied now,” Jan Keulen, the head of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), told Qatari daily Gulf Times.

However, he insisted that that the proposed entity would not compete with existing training centres.

“We are aware that we have a very important institution, the Al Jazeera Training and Development Centre in this country serving the whole region and may be even beyond. We are not going to compete with them. We are concentrating on certain issues,” he said.

According to the Dutch journalist who joined DCMF on April 1, there could be no press freedom without good journalism.

“Good journalism as we take it is very broad. It includes awareness about professional standards, ethics, safety, legal awareness, and in some cases, basic reporting skills as well,” he said.

The DCMF will also work on code of conduct, journalism ethics, and legal awareness.

“Though we are a young organisation, we are working with people who have a lot of experience in this field,” Keulen said.

The DCMF plans to focus on media in countries that are going through difficult situations. The centre last week hosted a training course for journalists from south Sudan.

“The state of south Sudan has not yet been declared. It is a young country, obviously the media there is very young and is in need of support,” he said.

Keulen claimed a role for the centre in the Arab world which he said required transformation in journalism from the professional, legal, and media industry aspects.

“I think everything will change and as an Arab organisation, based in the middle of the Arab and Islamic world, the DCMF also has a role to play in that transformation process.”

Plans to boost research include establishing a knowledge centre and bringing expertise to Qatar to serve the media community in the country and elsewhere in the Middle East.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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