Tunis, June 2, 2015: The Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) and Rory Peck Trust have jointly organized a ground-breaking 6 day intensive series of workshops for 13 freelance Libyan journalists from across the country, selected from nearly 100 applicants. Freelance journalists are some of the bravest and most vulnerable people in the news business. They risk their lives working in conflict zones without support of large news organizations and bring back stories that are vital to the public understanding of world events as they unfold.
The aim of the workshops, which were funded by the UN Democracy Fund, was to introduce freelance journalists to international professional standards and practices. Seasoned professional radio and print journalists, photojournalists and documentary filmmakers were brought in by the organizers to lead the workshops.
“Our objective in organizing these workshops was to help participants improve their reporting skills and increase their awareness of how to deal with the security issues posed by a hostile environment,” said LIAS organizer Huda Abuzeid, “We were deeply gratified by the results of the workshops”, she added. “Through them, our participants were able to increase their outlets for work and develop the ability to find meaningful assignments. At the same time, by working together over 6 days, the 13 participants were able to develop strong professional relationships which will serve them in their future careers”.
Workshop sessions covered a range of subjects aimed at helping freelancers sustain a career in the news business, from professional ethics to practical skills, including finding and pitching stories, winning commissions, closing deals with clients, planning assignments, business brand building and marketing.
Session leaders included award-winning professionals including freelance producer Rima Marrouch and Reuters and Al Jazeera veteran Paul Eedle, with guest speakers from the industry such as French Algerian director, filmmaker and photographer Mani.
“Journalism is vital to the future of Arab countries emerging from decades under repressive regimes,” said LIAS Chairman and Founder Dr. Aref Nayed. “Journalism is particularly vital to Libya, which is living through catastrophic times. Our dynamic young freelance reporters are the lifeblood of Libyan journalism. We desperately need them today to bring us the unvarnished truth of events on the ground. They deserve our support and it is for this reason that LIAS has formed an alliance with the extraordinary Rory Peck Trust, which is dedicated to the support of freelance journalists around the world, to organize these workshops. We hope that this is the first of many opportunities to support a free press and the brave men and women who risk their lives to bring us the news.”