Barcelona, 3 March 2013 – A Euro-Mediterranean Media Meeting convened in Barcelona more than 100 representatives of international media bodies, citizen journalists and intercultural experts from 30 countries. Working together during two days, the participating media practitioners and experts debated of new challenges and opportunities for cross-cultural reporting in the context of the historical Arab awakening, the impact of the economic crisis on social values in Europe, and ongoing conflicts in the region. The Meeting also was the opportunity for the presentation of the first comprehensive Euro-Med mapping exercise, including good practices related to ethical cross-cultural reporting.
The Euro-Med Meeting was co-organized by the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Barcelona-based think-tank European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMED). Among the media present were Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Shark Al Awssat, El Pais, the BBC, France 24, and Deutsche Welle, in addition to leading media initiatives such as Creative Commons and the Ethical Journalism Network, Panos Institute, Arab media Institute, etc.
Speaking at the opening session, UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi underlined: “We would like to take the opportunity of this meeting to give a new start to the Euro Mediterranean agenda on Media. The role of journalists is crucial to develop regional integration in the region, and it will only be successful if we are able to create a regional public opinion through a real Mediterranean media framework”.
André Azoulay, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, said that: « This is the first time since the birth of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership that such a diverse media network is formed, bringing together leading international media with grass-root citizen journalists, young reporters with senior professionals. It is a timely and essential initiative in supporting a new role with a different rhetoric inside the media community when it comes to address the people of the changing Mediterranean landscape. The Anna Lindh Foundation is fully committed to working in this perspective, through a long-term approach and in partnership with the media community. » Senén Florensa, President of the IEMED, stated from his side that: « In this new era of the political evolution of the Mediterranean, the role of the media and the shaping of the public opinion from within and from outside the countries concerned, will be of critical importance. We need to ensure the sustainability of cooperation between journalists of the region’’.
The Meeting in Barcelona is also one of the most important thematic preparation meetings for next month’s Anna Lindh Mediterranean Forum, a landmark gathering taking place from the 4th to 7th April 2013 in Marseille with more than 1000 civil society representatives from the 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean.