Doha: (Qatari News Agency: 9/2/2008): A media training session jointly organized by Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee and the Jordanian Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies concluded its deliberations at the NHRC HQ on Thursday, 8th February 2008.
The session in which about 40 trainees from different concerned groups participated dealt with a number of related topics such as legal aspects of the election process in the State of Qatar and electoral systems and standards developed there in as well as the role of the media in election coverage.
Events also included session topics and themes related to the assessment of the electoral programmes and writing of press reports in the electoral propaganda, monitoring and evaluation of electoral procedures and a work plan for media coverage of elections in addition to practical training on writing reports and the ethical media responsibilities involved.
Participating Qatari journalists issued at the conclusion of the session a draft media charter of honour on behalf of Qatari journalists pledging fair coverage of elections and promising free and fair reporting.
The draft also pledged that journalists would ensure that freedom of opinion and expression, pluralism and non-discrimination is strictly adhered to. The journalists would also do whatever it takes to educate voters about their rights and the dates of the electoral process and provide them with the necessary information about the candidates and their programmes in order to ensure the best opportunities for the electorate to make a studied choice.
The draft also pledged to give all candidates fair and equal opportunities to express their opinions, and not to prejudice any of the parties, while ensuring the right reaction to unfavorable reporting.
The draft Charter also pledged respect for the sanctity of individual privacy by avoiding abuse and inciting tribal sensitivities as well as other forms of discrimination on the basis of gender, color, religion. Incitement to violence should be also avoided at all costs.
It is expected to put the draft charter of honour for Qatari journalists for a vote at a Journalists Association meeting at the appropriate time.
Mr. Magdi Helmi / journalist and lecturer / at the session, reviewed the objectives of the session. In his statements, he focused on the theme of the session, the tools and skills required to ensure a fair media coverage of the elections.
He also expressed pleasure with the interaction and the lively response of the trainees describing the experience as promising and encouraging.
Discretionary Certificates were presented to participants at the end of the session.