On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Ma3mal612 Think Factory, in partnership with UNESCO and ANHAR Network (The Arab Network for Human Rights Film Festivals), organized four film screenings at a four-day event in Jordan. The event was opened by Min Jeong Kim the UNESCO Representative to Jordan and Director of the Unesco office in Jordan, the event occurred from Wednesday, May 3rd, to Sunday, May 7th at Ma3mal612 hub in Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Amman, Jordan.
The event included film screenings and a workshop for filmmakers to support the freedom of the press. The workshop aimed to support students of the film industry and independent filmmakers, with more than 20 filmmakers from different backgrounds participating. During the opening session, the participants learned about human rights with Mr. Mazen Shaqoura, the Regional Representative for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa.
The first session focused on the challenges of freedom of expression and the right to access information, with Mr. Mohammed Al-Hawari, the Media and Communications Officer at the regional office of UNICEF.
The second session, titled “Facing Obstacles to Freedom of Expression and Promoting Change through Films,” featured Dr. Najwa Qandahji, a professor in performing arts, theater, and film, as well as a theater director.
In the third session, participants had the opportunity to develop a film concept to support freedom of expression, led by Dr. Najwa Qandahji and Mr. Mohammed Al-Hawari.
The event included the screening of four films, followed by panel discussions with journalists, directors, and human rights activists. The films shown during the event were:
1. “Endangered“: The film documents a year in the lives of four journalists living and working in democratic countries where press freedom is taken for granted. However, with the increase in online rumors and bold criticism of world leaders towards the press, trust in traditional media is diminishing, and journalists are facing situations resembling those encountered in war zones or oppressive countries.
2. “The Journey Is the Destination“: This film, released in 2016, is based on the true story of Dan Eldon, a charismatic young activist, artist, and photography enthusiast. Eldon was pursued by a gang in Somalia and was killed at the age of 22.
3. “The Cost of Freedom“: This film documents the lives of three refugee journalists from Syria, Mexico, and Turkey in Canada in 2021. It explores the reasons that led each of them to flee their countries and why they chose to rebuild their lives as refugees in Canada.
4. “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh“: The “Fault Lines” program investigated the case of the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who worked for Al Jazeera, by Israeli military forces. On May 11, 2022, Shireen Abu Akleh was covering news in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when an Israeli soldier fired at her, killing her. The “Fault Lines” program interviewed eyewitnesses to the incident and posed questions to the White House and the State Department about whether the United States would conduct an investigation into the shooting that resulted in the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.