The Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) Annual Forum will today conclude.
The main theme of the forum was independent media and ensuring the possibility of cross-border investigations, a theme that attracted more than 500 participants from over 40 countries, as well as 2,500 virtual participants. This is the first ARIJ conference since the group launched its “Aman360” project with UNESCO, with the aim of enhancing the safety of investigative journalists in the MENA region.
Independent media faces significant challenges in the Middle East. In 2021, the Global Impunity Index ranked three Arab countries as the worst places to work for journalists, due to the risk of both imprisonment and violence. This has led to multiple international organizations, including UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), developing a safety roadmap for the region, to help support journalists in anticipating any risks.
As independent Arabic media continues to face issues, ARIJ’s work in training journalists is likely to have ever-increasing relevance. Work by UNESCO and IFJ in supporting journalist safety is also likely to continue, with probable efforts to pressure national authorities in the MENA region to adopt policies that combat impunity for crimes committed against journalists.
Laurence is an Analyst and weekly contributor to The Daily Brief, he focuses on geopolitical and economic issues occuring in Europe and Eurasia.