The Sweden-based Institute for Further Education of Journalists (Fojo Media Institute) has been working in Palestine to help develop a professional and democratic media with the skill to cover social, economic, and cultural issues. Recognising the importance of improved local reporting (given the fact that many parts of the West Bank and Gaza are physically isolated from each other due to Israeli closures and roadblocks), Fojo helped Birzeit University (BZU) set up the Birzeit University Media Institute (BZUMI). The institute's Radio Training Unit, established in late 1995, is sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Germany. The institute's print journalism training programme was launched in 1996, and a TV unit was set up in 2000. Fojo, with financial backing from the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (Sida), has worked closely with BZUMI's print and TV units. Fojo and BZUMI have trained over 1,100 journalists and held 314 weeks of courses and workshops since the project began in 1996.
The project offers a wide range of courses (both on the West Bank and in Gaza) focusing on topics such as: media ethics, in-house training, news analysis and reporting, editorial management, investigative reporting, photo journalism, research and source analysis, gender perspectives in the media, creative writing, youth production workshops, writing reportage and features, editing techniques and layout, social reporting, documentary film production, economic and consumer reporting, covering conflicts, team workshops, computer literacy and using the internet, and television news reporting.
The project has set up a website, which may be accessed here.
According to Fojo, since the Oslo Agreement 1993, Palestinian journalists on the West Bank and in Gaza have been experiencing an intensive period of transition. The role of Palestinian journalists has changed from primarily promoting resistance to Israeli occupation to covering ongoing peace negotiations, the activities and policies of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), municipal councils, police force, and other national Palestinian institutions. The need for training was, thus, strong.
Run by journalists, Fojo supports independent media and freedom of expression in Sweden and internationally. A non-profit academic institution within Linnaeus University, Fojo promotes professional journalism, freedom of expression, democracy, and human rights.
BZU, Fojo, Sida, Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Fojo website, March 23 2010.