December 3, 2020
AMMAN — Over 3,000 Arab and international media professionals from over 60 countries will convene digitally on Friday, December 4 at the largest Arab media gathering of 2020, and the only Arab Forum specialized in investigative journalism.
Attendees will gather under the theme of ARIJ’s 13th Annual Forum, “Connecting the World”, to discuss the role of, and challenges to the media amid the coronavirus, and in light of increased government efforts to restrict freedom of expression.
Over 160 speakers from over 40 countries will participate in the Forum, which has been offering workshops and sessions since mid-November. Its official activities will begin on Friday for a period of three days. December 6 will mark the closing ceremony, including the ARIJ Awards, when the winners for the best Arab investigations of 2020 will be announced. The Forum will offer simultaneous translation into English and sign language to commemorate the International Day of Disabled Persons.
At the opening ceremony on Friday at 3:00PM Amman time, ARIJeans will meet with supporters of investigative journalism to reaffirm the role of investigative and independent journalism in consolidating the right to freedom of expression and access to information in the Arab world, and to discuss existing and foreseeable challenges.
New York Times Media Columnist and founding editor of BuzzFeed News Ben Smith, will speak at the opening ceremony alongside the Swedish Ambassador to Jordan Alexandra Rydmark, the Norwegian Ambassador to Jordan Tone Elisabeth Bækkevold Allers, the British Ambassador to Jordan Bridget Brind, OCCRP Co-founder and ARIJ Board Member Drew Sullivan, ARIJ Director General Rawan Damen, and DW Anchor, Editor and Producer Ahmed Obeida. Jordanian musician Halim Al-Khatib will play the qanun.
This year’s online Forum is free for all participants thanks to support from more than 40 international partners. ARIJ20 uses advanced digital conference technology for networking and interactive exhibitions to offer participants more than 50 live broadcast activities via Zoom. The Forum will offer simultaneous translation into Arabic and English, and, for the first time, parallel sign language translation, which marks a first for investigative journalism conferences.
This year, the Forum will announce a number of ARIJ-led or affiliated projects for 2021, the most important of which are: the Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN), which aims to support fact-checkers and fact-checking institutions through networking and capacity-building activities; the new “ARIJ-Aleph” database, in partnership with OCCRP; the second six-month diploma in data-driven investigations in partnership with ICFJ; the opening of the ARIJ NED Fellowship for 2021; the launch of two specialized policy papers on Women in the Media during COVID-19 and Mis/disinformation during the pandemic in partnership with FNF; and on the final day of the Forum, the launch of “I Will Not be Silent” and “100 Watts”.
The Forum also embraces the launch of the regional project “QARIB”, with the support of the French Development Agency, which targets media operating in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine with more than 10 million euros in order to enhance social cohesion, coexistence and societal integration, especially for women, and encourage public debate.
This year, ARIJ published and broadcast more than 45 investigative reports. Their impact will be discussed on December 4 in an open dialogue between the journalists and ICIJ Senior Editor Michael Hudson.
ARIJean Saja Mortada will host four media experts from the United States, Europe, Latin America and East Asia to discuss the importance of cross-border investigations and overcoming obstacles.
This will be followed by a session led by ARIJ Executive Editor Hoda Osman and a number of panelists from around the world, who will share their experiences covering the COVID-19 pandemic.
BBC Arabic Presenter Rasha Qandeel will host two journalists who carried out ARIJ investigations in collaboration with the BBC: Gehad Abbas and Fateh Alrhman Alhamdani. Abbas, in her investigation, revealed how the Egyptian government made a deal to lend Egyptian artifacts to a commercial company in clear violation of the laws designed to protect treasures. Alhamdani highlighted the violations Sudanese children are subjected to in Qur’an memorisation centres, known in Sudan as “Khalwas.”
All ARIJ20 Forum activities are open to those interested. Simply browse the agenda and register for the sessions you would like to attend: https://arij.net/arij20/agenda/agenda_arabic.php
You can also download the forum’s agenda to your gmail calendar to adapt session times to your timezone: https://arij20.arij.net/2020/11/11/events/
ARIJ is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA), the Danish-Arab Partnership Program (DAPP), International Media Support (IMS), the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the Embassy of the Netherlands in Amman, the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
ARIJ20 Forum partners include Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Project OPEN Media Hub (OMH), the Thomson Foundation (TF), French Media Development Agency (CFI), Facebook Journalism Project (FJP), Norwegian Investigative Journalism Organization (SKUP), Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), Women in News Program (WAN IFRA), Marie Colvin Journalists Network (MCJN), Embassy of Sweden in Amman, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Media Heroes Project – Deutsche Welle Academy (DW Akademie), International Women’s Media Organization (IWMF), Alliance (ACOS), Rory Peck Trust (RPT), Frontline Freelance Register (FFR), Security Assistance Program Monitor, Center for International Policy (CIP), Center for Shadow World Investigations (SWI), Global Tobacco Trade Watch (STOP), Internews, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Finance Uncovered, Bellingcat, SAFE Project from IREX, 7iber, Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), and Google News Initiative (GNI).