Dozens of media executives from both the public and private sectors across the Arab world celebrated their completion of the two one-week courses on Thursday.
Co-funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s International Programme for Development Communication, Aljazeera’s training centre also funded the programme which seeks to raise broadcasting standards in the Middle East.
UN official Iskra Panevska congratulated the participants, adding that it was now up to them to go back to their respective media organizations in Djibouti, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Sudan, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt and Qatar to effect real change.
The training covered various topics, including marketing, strategic planning, production, quality control, editorial principles and codes of practice.
UK-based trainer John Prescott told Aljazeera.net that his main impression of Arab media was that it was in real need of management restructuring, particularly strategic and long-term planning.
Prescott said that unless Arab media adapted to rapid change in the industry, it risked becoming irrelevant. “Even in the most state-controlled medias, it is possible to effect change -especially in the commercial sectors, but also in the way tasks are managed.”
Media executives came from all
He added: “Part of this course focused on the reality that all media have limited resources – what the manager needs to be sure of is that what is done and spent is the best possible use of them.”
Participants, such as Lebanese media executive Fuad Qablan, told Aljazeera.net that in addition to the obvious benefits of the training, he had enjoyed the opportunity of meeting many of his counterparts from neighbouring countries and of exchanging ideas concerning common challenges.
Qatar Radio chief Ali al-Kubaisi said he found the course to be a good start for development and that he had benefited from the experiences of those who had attended the course – particularly in ways of dealing with common difficulties.
Sudan’s Dr Mutasim Mustafa, who heads news and political programming in national radio, said that the course topics were varied and discussed threadbare, adding that the programme was a total success.
Unesco also sponsored a seminar last April that was also held at Aljazeera’s training centre. The programme was attended by radio, internet, newspaper and television journalists from all over the Arab world to look at the role of the media in national education programmes.