Tag Archives morocco

M.Report S01E26 – Friends and an Interview with RSF

The last two days were very fruitful. I have had the privilege of interacting with an excellent group of people whose main concern is to share their views with the world, and expose the wrongs in their societies in order for those to be addressed and corrected. Although I cannot say that the correction has been effected by society and/or governments, but at least they have been brought out in the open and the hope is that they will be tackled, ultimately.

Today’s presentations were a bit more technical in nature where we discussed how to popularise your blog, how to use the available tools and sites to spread your message and how to monetise your efforts.

RSF's Clothilde Le Coz I also took the opportunity to interview Clothilde Le Coz, of RSF’s Internet Freedom Desk who shared her views and explained her role in the organisation. She also provided some insights on how RSF goes about its business.

Now that the formal part of the workshop is over, and the M.Report has been uploaded, it’s time to shower, change and go out to have dinner in the world famous Rick’s Café with some new and old friends. Should be quite fun!

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M.Report S01E25 – The Intersection between Citizen Journalism and Traditional Media

M.Report S01E25 – The Intersection between Citizen Journalism and Traditional Media

This is my contribution to the journalism workshop I am attending at the moment where I was privileged to be on the panel discussing the intersection between the old and new media. On the panel with me were Emmabenji (emmabenji.canalblog.com, tunisia), Mohammed Zainabi (zainabi.com, morocco), Yazid Haddar (psycho.dzblog.com, algeria) and Daoud Kuttab (ammannet.net, jordan – visiting professor at Princeton Uni).

Considering that the basic human activity of communication, has been with us since the first human painted on cave walls, it’s surprising that when it comes to a modern activity of writing on a largely personal online diary, elicits such a need as to pigeon-hole people and their generated thoughts into categories such as “journalism” or any other adjectives.

This – I feel – has been given rise by society and maybe mainstream media in particular, to distinguish themselves as “the” source for news and valid opinion, while any other is simply invalid or at least less worthy of consideration.

History tells us that this is the same reaction when the radio first started its mainstream transmission with the reaction of newsprint, and also when television was first introduced and it received its fare share of ridicule by newsprint, radio and even the theatre!

Maybe by pigeon-holing, mainstream media think they can “wheedle out” the good from the bad, again thinking in that ubiquitous “black and white” methodology, a condescending approach by assuming that they alone can select what is good for us.

But with such a huge platform, it is impossible to apply these methods. Old metrics simply won’t do. What we have now is a huge crowd-sourced material, terabytes of information which is published every single day, and with the way that the fusion of communication methods currently experienced – text, audio, video, animation, and photographs – this trend will only escalate.

Yes, traditional media is supposed to have the safeguards to at least distinguish between fact and opinion, but in today’s connected world this is not so critical.

The point; therefore, is not simple to try to draw a line between a blog and main-stream media to achieve distinction and simple categorisation, but employ critical thinking and other skills to evaluate what is being presented, regardless of source.

What blogs provide is a huge base of crowd sourced information. Sifting through that information and evaluating it is not a small exercise, but categorising it with the old “journalistic standards” will not achieve much. We have to recognise that with this wealth of published information, decision makers have a new tool that they can employ which they never had access to before:

What we have now – thanks to the explosion of blogging – is an ocean of raw data, one if mined properly, could give them an excellent understanding of the feelings and needs of “normal people” – the street – that traditional media with its inbuilt sanitorial control could never give them.

How one uses that facility, it is up to them.

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Metalwork

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Metalwork

Metalwork, originally uploaded by malyousif.



At a Marrakech souvenir outlet.

I bought quite a lot of things from this shop; leather cushions, bags, Moroccan clothes for the wife and kids and other stuff. This constituted my first ever souvenir shopping! I normally don’t bother with any souvenir shopping in the countries I visit for business or short trips, but Marrakech was the first exception to that rule.

The one thing I did want to get is one of those lamps, a fanous, which would have looked fantastic at the front door, unfortunately the size of the object and the inversely proportional size of my wallet didn’t allow me that luxury. Next time inshallah.

I hope you are having a wonderful Friday. And do please spare a though for those people who are paying for our freedom, with theirs.

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Time to have fun!

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Djemaa el Fna performer at night

Djemaa el Fna performer at night, originally uploaded by malyousif.



I’m sure that a lot of you are pretty fed up with bad news, politics and the rest of the depressing posts. So allow me to share with you this picture I shot in Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech recently.

New friends and I decided to go have dinner in an upmarket authentic restaurant, but see the city at night at the same time, and believe me, Djemaa el Fna comes into its own at night. I’ll post more pictures of the square and the old Medina over the next few days ( watch my Marrakech set on Flickr) where you will see how vibrant it gets; the people, music, noise, hustle & bustle, smells, lights, shadows, the ethereal lighting and business still being conducted at that time of night and the sights in and of the narrow alleyways of the Casbah are all thrilling even more than daytime Marrakech.

We walked for about an hour through the narrow alleyways until we got to the exquisite and excellent (and rather expensive) Yaqout restaurant and had an excellent Moroccan meal.

But before all of that, in Djemaa el Fna, I was busy shooting when this jolly guy just jumped in front of my camera singing, dancing and clapping those mini-symbals all happy and smiley, fortunately my reflex took over and I pointed the camera down at him and shot him!

I love this picture, so vibrant and jolly.

Have a wonderful day my friends, and think happy thoughts!

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The Old Berber Man

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The Old Berber Man

The Old Berber Man, originally uploaded by malyousif.



There are a lot of colourful (and pushy!) characters in the main square of Marrakesh, this is supposed to be the largest open air market in Africa, and there are loads of opportunities to take photographs, but better start with your pocket full of coins as everyone will demand to be paid to get their picture taken!

It’s immense fun though.

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MENA Media Sustainability Index released

Media Sustainability Index report cover page

The new Media Sustainability Index is another metric which has just been released – for the first time – covering media freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa. This program is by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and yet again shows the low level of media freedoms and independence in this area. Although they are more optimistic in that they recognise clear indications of change to the better than other organisations.

The MSI report I think is much more thorough that RSF’s, and more encompassing.

If you don’t have time to read the 262 pages of the report, then you can download just the part which concerns your country or area of interest only. Bahrain’s chapter is a comprehensive 19 pages – and it’s position is dismal, yet again, in another metric.

If you still don’t think you should bother delving into this, then let me wet your appetite just a little; this is part of the executive summary:

The first MSI for the Middle East and North Africa shows a region not yet advanced toward a robust, independent media sector, but it clearly detected the signals of change. The roadblocks are painfully evident in, as an example, the rebuilding of the Iraqi media. Although the absolute controls of the previous regime are gone, the MSI panelists said, not only do political leaders not understand the principles of media freedoms but citizens also do not understand the importance of media independence or act to defend it.

It is this report and its aspects that we are partly going to discuss in Morocco amongst other topics next week as part of the IREX Media Advisory Board from the 13th through to the 19th. Needless to say I shall blog about it.

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