July 2018 – June 2021
Promoting the production of innovative content in the Arab world and in Africa
CFI launched “MediaLab” in 2018 thanks to a one-off grant awarded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, as part of the French-speaking and multilingualism plan. The projects attached to the MediaLab label promote the development of innovative content, predominantly in French, in the Arab world and in Africa.
July 2018 – June 2021
MediaLab Innovation is supporting four innovative editorial projects in French for media outlets in Algeria, Lebanon and Morocco. Despite the health and socio-economic crises in each of these three countries, remote learning sessions supported small teams from these outlets, which are committed to providing reliable and independent information. This approach has been a success, given that these media outlets have broadened their editorial output, especially in terms of video content, and improved their ratings.
We need to gain journalistic techniques and methods of working to provide our young listeners with content that is both educational and entertaining. »
Lamia Rassi (executive director of Planet News Business and founder of Yomkom).
MediaLab Campus promotes human exchanges between journalism schools on both sides of the Mediterranean. Four female journalism students received grants for internships at French and Tunisian media outlets in 2020. Three young female Moroccan students at the ISIC (Higher Institute of Information and Communication) had the unusual experience of being forced to go into lockdown for two weeks after arriving in France. This did nothing to deter them, however, as they explain: “This grant helped me to achieve one of my dreams. […] I was able to open a door that seemed to be off limits to me.” “This allows you to consider new challenges, to get out of your comfort zone and set yourself new limits.”
The pandemic meant that many internships and most of the inter-school partnership projects had to be cancelled or pushed back, but some of them managed to adapt by making use of video conference exchanges
In December 2020, the Iraqi journalist Asaad Zalzali was awarded the prize for the best investigation published within the framework of the MediaLab Investigation project during the virtual closing ceremony of the annual forum of ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism). He was one of the six investigative journalists shortlisted for the prize for his report on the trafficking of pharmaceuticals in Iraq. The journalists came from Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Iraq and received personalised assistance to produce their investigations into health, which included training sessions and financial support – all against the backdrop of a challenging healthcare environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MediaLab Environment helps to improve awareness of environmental challenges by promoting the inclusion of stories concerning the environment in journalistic content produced in six countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Through an approach based on the exchange and sharing of expertise between local stakeholders and journalists, this project managed to get dozens of media professionals to engage with environmental concerns in 2020. Six journalists followed a “train the trainer” course to coach 23 people working on environmental topics who are committed to producing audiovisual content in line with a solutions journalism approach. Ultimately, six media outlets and eight journalists were selected to receive support for the production of investigative content.
The exchanges and resources shared during the meetings and workshops have opened our eyes to new approaches to tackling environmental challenges. »
Ahmed Sabaa Ellil (Climate in Arabic – Egypt)
Implemented with support provided by the pan-African network “Open Data pour Elles [Open Data for Women]”, MédiaLab pour Elles provides journalists with training on how to handle open data concerning gender and with support to investigate gender inequality in French‑speaking Africa. This project was launched in late December 2020 via a call for applications, in order to select 24 journalists from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Niger and Madagascar for this training programme.
MediaLab falls within the scope of the “International Strategy for the French Language and Multilingualism”, launched by the President of the French Republic in 2018, which aims specifically to “strengthen Francophone media” and “promote the model of free and independent information”. The aim of this initiative is to stimulate new journalistic content in French‑speaking African countries, in French specifically, but not exclusively; it is a question of promoting multilingualism by supporting the development of innovative editorial projects.