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Facebook Journalism Project launches fund to support local newsrooms amid Covid-19

Facebook Journalism Project launches fund to support local newsrooms amid Covid-19

Facebook will work with the International Centre for Journalism (ICFJ) to offer grants, webinars and professional mentorship to support publishers

To support the media in their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) has announced the funding and training for publishers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Facebook will invests $750,000 in the Covid-19 Support Fund which intends to alleviate the impact of the virus and strengthen journalism in the region.

Facebook will work with the International Centre for Journalism (ICFJ), a non-profit organisation, to offer a combination of grants, webinars and professional mentorship to support publishers.

In addition, the company is launching a programme focused on refugee reporting during the current outbreak, which will equip journalists with the skills, resources and technical support required to produce relevant stories.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for people to maintain sustainable access to authentic information. Today, the news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed and updated. As people turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe, these journalists are affected especially in the current economic crisis,” said Mohamed Omar, News Partnerships Manager, Middle East and North Africa at Facebook.

“We’re working with our partners and the industry to understand their needs, which includes support to help continue creative, innovative and impactful storytelling.

In Egypt, Facebook will collaborate with the Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism at the American University in Cairo to address issues and challenges facing journalism in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Hussein Amin, professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism said: “With a constant influx of misinformation, rumors, and exaggerated aspirations of the situation on the ground, the job of a journalist has never been more challenging. Through this collaborative project with Facebook, we aim to support Egyptian media with knowledge, skills and useful resources so they can bring to their audiences quality content void of misinformation.”

The programme aims to empower and connect publishers and journalists with the tools needed to work effectively from home; provide training and mentorship for journalists to acquire the requisite knowledge and skills and support newsrooms, journalists, and developers in bringing creativity to quality Covid-19 stories.

Since 2019, the ICFJ and the Facebook Journalism Project have trained more than 7,500 journalists from 37 countries in the region, to strengthen their reporting skills and build stronger connections with their communities.

FJP is also launching a Facebook Group in Arabic to build a community of journalists in the MENA region, that will act as an active forum for journalists to connect and collaborate, share information and offer help and support to one another.

This Facebook commitment builds upon the $100m to support the news industry during the Covid-19 crisis, as well as $1m in grants for local news, $1m in grants for fact-checking organisations, and a $1m donation to the International Fact-Checking Network.

FJP has also already committed $300m to serving journalists around the world through diverse and inclusive news programs and partnerships.

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