Doha, November 13 (QNA) – The Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) has launched in collaboration with Qatar University and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) a research plan, the first of its kind in the GCC region, to research the Qatari media landscape.
A press release the DCMF issued here Tuesday said the research aims to study the extent to which Qatar s media environment ensures freedom of expression, plurality and diversity of media using UNESCO s Media Development Indicators (MDIs). The MDI methodology was endorsed in 2008 by the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO s International Programme for the Development of Communication.
The MDI framework covers all aspects of the media environment and is structured around five categories: 1. Regulation; 2. Plurality and diversity of the media; 3. Media as a platform for democratic discourse; 4. Professional capacity building; and 5. Infrastructural capacity.
MDI assessments have been conducted in Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia but it will be the first of its kind in the GCC region.
Dr Mahmoud M. Galander, Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University said that “Qatar is emerging as one of the most vibrant countries in the region; and as the prominence of Qatar in international politics is on the rise, it becomes important to monitor and evaluate the state and performance of its media in such a period”.
Earlier on 9 and 10 November 2012, DCMF organised in collaboration with UNESCO a workshop to train 7 researchers from Qatar University s Mass Communication Department in applying the MDI framework. The training was conducted by Steve Buckley, a media specialist with worldwide experience in media policy, media reform advocacy and media development who led the MDI assessment in Tunisia.
UNESCO was represented by Saorla McCabe, who has coordinated UNESCO s MDIs applications in selected countries around the world and took part in the organisation of the international consultation that led to the development and endorsement of the MDIs.
The successful 2-day workshop enabled the research team to familiarise themselves with the MDI framework and finalise their research plan. The research is expected to start this December and last for a period of 6 to 9 months.
“The most important aspect of this research to us is that it will enable our faculty members, and probably students, to engage in a high quality academic research activity, and will give us the opportunity to generate Qatari media-related data which are missing or incomplete at the moment,” Dr. Galander said.
In addition to the research group, an advisory committee composed of Qatar-based media representatives, communications professionals, members of the civil society, NGOs and officials will be invited by DCMF to oversee and provide input to the project.
“Unfortunately, the local media in Qatar has not received enough attention from researchers around the world like Al Jazeera network did,” said Roos Meertens, Senior Coordinator of the Research Department at DCMF.
“By coordinating this multi-stakeholder project, which will involve the main players in the Qatari media sector, DCMF hopes to inform the public, raise awareness of Qatar s media landscape and ultimately contribute to the formulation of recommendations for media-related policies and media development efforts”, Roos Meertens said.
DCMF latest research project was presented at the recently concluded Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum and Arab Expatriate Scientists Network Symposium through a poster presentation.
It is noted that Steve Buckley is a media specialist with worldwide experience in media policy, law and regulation, media reform advocacy and media development. He is Managing Director of CM Solutions, a UK-based not-for-profit media development agency.
Steve is former President (2003-2010) of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and has also served as a member of Council of IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. He has been a speaker at many international conferences and workshops on communications and development. He recently led the research team for the UNESCO Media Development Indicators (MDI) study for Tunisia, the first to be completed in the Arab world. He is author of Broadcasting, Voice and Accountability a public interest approach to policy, law and regulation (University of Michigan Press), and Community Media: A Good Practice Handbook (UNESCO), among other publications.(END)