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Engaging Media in Development and the Fight Against Poverty - 20/03/2009


A project co-financed by the European Union

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PRESS RELEASE - issued on 20th March 2009

Engaging Media in Development and the Fight Against Poverty

20th March 2009. A group of journalists from Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania shall be leaving for Uganda tomorrow as part of an EU-funded project entitled, Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion (MEDIP). The project, which is being led by SOS Malta, aims at sensitizing journalists and media within these six New Member States about development issues and the Millennium Development Goals. Through the media, the project aims at creating greater consciousness amongst policy makers, the business community, as well as the general public.

MEDIP is being funded by the European Commission 'in the framework of the thematic programme 'Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development', which aims at supporting small scale initiatives proposed and/or carried out by civil society organisations and local authorities originating from the Community and partner countries in the area of development.  More particularly, MEDIP is co-funded within the framework of the programme's objective of fostering education for development in Europe.

The MEDIP project is receiving 828,240.67 EUR from the European Commission. This is equivalent to 89.57% of the total project budget.

Implementing partners, alongside SOS Malta, include: Jaan Tonisson Institute (Estonia), Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (Hungary), European Institute of Cyprus, Slovene Philanthropy and Civil Society Development Foundation (Romania).

The project kicked off this week with a very fruitful training workshop organized for journalists from the six New Member States where the project partners derive from. The workshop was held in Malta at the Victoria Hotel between the 18th and the 20th of March 2009. The three-day event served to equip the journalists with methods and tools in communicating the Millennium Development Goals and Development Issues.

Key speakers during the event included Dr. Clare Thake Vassallo, Chairman of Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, Ms. Anya Sitaram, Presenter at BBC World News, Mr. Karl Schembri, Chairman of the Journalists' Committee (Malta), Ms. Vanya Walker-Leigh, Former correspondent of ‘The Guardian' at the United Nations, Geneva, Ms. Katherine Meenan from Connect -World (Ireland), Mr. Joseph Woods from The World Centre for New Thinking, and Mr. Karl Stagno-Navarra, Correspondent with Al Jazeera English.  

The workshop was highly interactive and produced some interesting discussions in relation to the role of the media, especially within New Member States, in raising awareness about development issues and the Millennium Development Goals in particular.  The event also shed light on the importance of reporting development and poverty issues related to developing countries in a different way to the simply negative images which the public has tended to be exposed to in the past few years. Media has a role to play in shedding light on success stories and solutions to poverty - especially those provided by locals within developing countries themselves.

Reference was also made to the difficulties encountered by NGOs and journalists alike, in ensuring that development and poverty-related stories are regularly covered within local audiovisual and printed media. Director and Executive Producer of Rockhoper TV and Presenter at BBC World New, Ms. Anya Sitaram, who was one of the key speakers during the workshop, said " Its been very interesting to learn about NGOs'  and journalists' perspectives within the New Member States about how development issues are reported. We all face similar difficulties, especially in bringing development stories to the general public"

The group of journalists and MEDIP partner representatives who attended the workshop are set to proceeding for a field-visit to Uganda on Saturday 21st March. Their mission is to produce six documentaries, each related to one of the Millennium Development Goals. The ten-day field-visit will serve as an opportunity for the journalists to gain first-hand experience of poverty realities which the Millennium Development Goals are concerned about, and which need to be addressed. The visit will also provide insight into success stories in addressing poverty, as well as exposure to areas of action which European Member States and civil society can assist with.


For further information, contact:

Philippa Arrigo - EU Projects Manager, SOS Malta

Tel: 356 21244123 / 99285600



To find out more about the MEDIP project, visit:

For more information about the European Commission's thematic programme ‘Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development', consult:

Disclaimer:  The training workshop was organized with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of the training workshop and of this press release are the sole responsibility of SOS Malta and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


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