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Human rights centre hosts media ethics workshop

The workshop covered topics on hate speech, freedom of expression, and journalists' work in conflict zones. [Al Jazeera] Al Jazeera hosted dozens of journalists for an ethics workshop in Doha yesterday.

The professional training, jointly held the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and Al Jazeera's Public Liberties and Human Rights Centre (PLHR) on Sunday, aimed to promote human rights principles and responsible practice in media.

“We all have a good idea of the values of journalism but when it comes to applying them in complex working environments [it’s different],” said Tom Law, workshop leader and campaigns director at EJN. 

Sessions focused on media's roles in defending freedom of expression and fighting hate speech.

Topics included identifying hate speech, avoiding stereotypes when reporting on migrants and refugees, and applying human rights principles when reporting from conflict zones. 

Both EJN and PLHR speakers emphasized the importance of hosting media training in the Middle East.

“Given the situation in the Middle East, there is conflict everywhere. Media in the Middle East do not always tell news but rather produce state-sponsored propaganda,” said Sami Alhaj, director of PLHR, in a statement.

He said that the training is important for journalists to remember their impartial roles in the region.

The workshop is one of several events hosted by PLHR each year to promote human rights and media freedom.

The centre also hosts safety and security courses throughout the year, and regularly produces human rights content for web and television platforms.

It helped draft the International Declaration on the Protection of Journalists in 2016 and continues to lobby for its global implementation.

The document, which defends journalists' rights in dangerous environments, has been approved by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), and several other international bodies. 

The centre’s next event will mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd.