"The Golden Prize".. A Film by ARIJ Screens in Beirut

September 7, 2023

ARIJ organised a film screening and a gathering with journalists and fact checkers in Lebanon on Wednesday, September 6th, at the Sursock Museum in Beirut.

The meeting began with a special screening of the documentary “The Golden Prize,” followed by a discussion session on investigative journalism and fact-checking in the Arab world. The event was attended by by Rawan Damen, ARIJ General Director, Munir Al-Khatib, ARIJ Editor-in-Chief, and Saja Mortada, Manager of the Arab Fact Checkers Network,.

“The Golden Prize” is a 25-minute documentary that explores the behind-the-scenes of training, and tells the story of ten Arab investigative journalists who reached the final stage of the 14th edition of the ARIJ Arab Investigative Journalism Awards in 2022. The latest edition of the forum saw the participation of over five hundred journalists on-ground and two thousand in the virtual world.

Professional and Financial Support and Networking

Commenting on the film screening and the importance of organising such an event in Lebanon, Rawan Damen said: “Beirut, one of the foremost capitals of Arab journalism, is suffering from economic collapse, political conflict, and freedom suppression. On the third anniversary of the explosion, ARIJ decided to have an on-ground activity in the beloved city, symbolising what happened to the Sursock Museum during the blast and its symbolic rise from the rubble this summer, despite all the challenges.”

“At ARIJ, we are delighted to support every Lebanese journalist interested in producing investigative reports that expose harm and confront those responsible for local or cross-border issues. We provide journalists with the necessary training in investigation, data, open sources, and more. We take full editorial and financial responsibility for the investigation, considering physical, digital, legal, psychological, and professional risks. We also specifically support independent journalists and connect them with Lebanese, Arab, and foreign publishing platforms. We have experience dealing with difficult situations in investigative reporting, which is common with many other Arab countries, whether it’s suppression or lack of access to information. We are also interested in supporting every independent information verifier or anyone working with an Arab institution or initiative interested in networking and innovation.” Damen said.

Munir Al-Khatib, Editor-in-Chief of ARIJ, talked about ARIJ’s unique support for investigative journalism that is not available in other independent or official Arab media institutions. He added: “This support is dedicated to ensuring the allocation of necessary time and resources for producing investigative work, covering editorial, logistical, and financial aspects from the proposal to production and testing stages. It includes a comprehensive system of safety and security, covering physical, digital, legal, psychological, and professional aspects, as well as professional information verification and precise legal review.”

Saja Mortada, Director of the Arab Fact Checkers Network, emphasised on how ARIJ incorporates artificial intelligence in its work, taking into account all the challenges posed by the spread of false misleading information and bias. In this context, she stressed the importance of enhancing information verification before publication to address these challenges.

The event was attended by over 60 journalists, fact checkers, and media professors in Beirut.