MBC Group launches Creative Communities Collaboration

Updated 04 August 2019

MBC Group launches Creative Communities Collaboration

  • MBC Group is seeking creative partners to produce world-class content based on stories from the region

MBC Group has announced the launch of the Creative Communities Collaboration (CCC), a public-private association of global media and entertainment executives to strengthen ties and partnerships between the MENA region and the Hollywood entertainment industry.  

CCC members met at an exclusive event held in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, during which 17 Arab television writers and producers graduated from specialized workshops at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts.

Since 2016, MBC Group has partnered with the private media school, a number of leading Hollywood executives and showrunners to organize high-level entertainment industry gatherings and professional exchange programs on the role of media in promoting tolerance through positive storytelling in the Arab world.

One outcome of this process has been the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI), a State Department-funded professional training program produced by USC aimed at increasing the capacity and standards of the Arab world’s creative talents and original storytelling.

“We want to provide the opportunity for both US and MENA TV production entities to discover and work with one another’s talent and provide opportunities for younger generations that were not previously available.”

Ali Jaber, MBC Group TV director

The initiative stems from a shared understanding that television is a powerful tool that connects with audiences through compelling characters and meaningful storylines. Programmatic aspects include advanced professional training for writers, showrunners and TV executives.

Ali Jaber, MBC Group TV director, commented: “These cross-cultural initiatives are crucial to us, particularly in this current media climate. We want to provide the opportunity for both US and MENA TV production entities to discover and work with one another’s talent and provide opportunities for younger generations that were not previously available.”

Jaber added: “We believe in the power of positive storytelling and the effect it has on communities in the Arab world. Through the Creative Communities Collaboration, we aspire to provide new opportunities for inspirational stories to come to life via the medium of television.”

On her part, Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, stated: “Our joint initiatives focus on bringing cultures together. Our specialized workshops focus on finding the common ground in what unites us, sharing best practices, values and mutual understanding between both communities. We look forward to further working with MBC Group on the new Creative Communities Collaboration.”

MBC Group is seeking creative partners to produce world-class content based on stories from the region with international appeal and supporting future generations to build modern, globally-engaged societies.


YouTube steers viewers to climate denial videos: nonprofit

Updated 16 January 2020

YouTube steers viewers to climate denial videos: nonprofit

  • Avaaz said it scrutinized results of YouTube searches using the terms “global warming,” “climate change,” and “climate manipulation” to see what was offered by an “up next” feature
  • 16 percent of the top 100 videos served up in relation to the term “global warming” contained misinformation, it said

SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube has driven millions of viewers to climate denial videos, a US activist group said Thursday as it called for stopping “free promotion of misinformation” at the platform.
New York-based Avaaz said it scrutinized results of Google-owned YouTube searches using the terms “global warming,” “climate change,” and “climate manipulation” to see what was offered by an “up next” feature and as suggestions.
In response to the report, YouTube said it downplays “borderline” video content while spotlighting authoritative sources and displaying information boxes on searches related to climate change and other topics.
The video sharing platform has remained firm that while it removes content violating its policies against hate, violence and scams, it does not censor ideas expressed in accordance with its rules.
“Our recommendations systems are not designed to filter or demote videos or channels based on specific perspectives,” YouTube said in response to an AFP inquiry.
The company added that it has “significantly invested in reducing recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and raising up authoritative voices.”
According to Avaaz, 16 percent of the top 100 videos served up in relation to the term “global warming” contained misinformation, with the top 10 of those averaging more than a million views each.
The portion of potentially misleading videos climbed to 21 percent for YouTube searches on the term “climate manipulation” but fell to eight percent for searches using the term “climate change,” according to Avaaz.
“This is not about free speech, this is about the free advertising,” Avaaz senior campaigner Julie Deruy said in a release.
“YouTube is giving factually inaccurate videos that risk confusing people about one of the biggest crises of our time.”
An AFP search at YouTube using the term “global warming” yielded a results page topped by a box containing a Wikipedia summary of the subject and a link to the page at the online encyclopedia.
A list of suggested videos on the topic was dominated by sources such as National Geographic, NASA, TED and major news organizations including CBS, PBS, Sky News, and AFP.
Last year, consumption on “channels” of authoritative news publishers at the platform grew by 60 percent, according to YouTube.
“We prioritize authoritative voices for millions of news and information queries, and surface information panels on topics prone to misinformation — including climate change — to provide users with context alongside their content,” YouTube said.
Avaaz called on YouTube to yank climate change misinformation videos from its recommendation formula completely, and make certain such content doesn’t make money from ads at the platform.
The nonprofit also wants YouTube to collaborate with fact-checkers and post correction notices on videos with false climate change information.
YouTube automatically placed ads on some of the videos containing misinformation regarding climate change, making money for the service and the content creators, according to Avaaz.
This could apply to news videos expressing rival sides of the climate change debate. YouTube works with advertisers and provides tools to opt-out of having their ads displayed with certain types of content, such as climate change discourse.
Avaaz said after seeing the YouTube response that the company’s rankings lacked transparency and “put a blackbox around their algorithm preventing researchers and investigators from seeing exactly what is happening inside.”
“The bottom line is that YouTube should not feature, suggest, promote, advertise or lead users to misinformation,” Deruy said.