Meta launches My Digital World pilot program in Lebanon

Meta will work with local partners to incorporate a behavioral change analysis process that will be used to assess the effectiveness of its approach and program design. (Shutterstock)
Meta will work with local partners to incorporate a behavioral change analysis process that will be used to assess the effectiveness of its approach and program design. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 August 2022

Meta launches My Digital World pilot program in Lebanon

Meta launches My Digital World pilot program in Lebanon
  • The initiative consists of five learning models designed to help users create a safer online experience

DUBAI: Facebook parent company Meta has launched My Digital World, a pilot program for adults in Lebanon that aims to create a safer online experience and reduce the risk of bad behavior in the real world. It has been developed with local partner the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training.

“Our partnership with (LOST) will allow us to localize the My Digital World — Adults curriculum to meet the needs of marginalized communities in the Bekaa, Balbeck and Hermel regions,” said Rama Halaseh, Meta’s policy programs manager for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The program is designed to be delivered as a complete curriculum using virtual and in-person teaching. It will be used to train between 30 and 50 members of local communities who in turn will train more than 2,000 people and lead public-awareness campaigns.

The program includes five learning modules covering privacy, security, avoiding scams, media literacy and digital citizenship. They aim to teach the skills required for positive and safe interaction with others in online communities.

Meta will work with local partners to incorporate a behavioral change analysis process that will be used to assess the effectiveness of its approach and program design.

“LOST cares deeply about digital literacy,” said Rami Lakkis, the organization’s founder and manager. “With our strategic partnership with Meta, we aim to implement the My Digital World curriculum to address the needs of the targeted marginalized communities in the country’s Bekaa, Balbeck and Hermel regions and equip people with the skills needed to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly and succeed in an increasingly complex and digitally connected world.”

Meta launched its wider My Digital World initiative on Feb. 8, the annual Safer Internet Day, in the form of a web portal dedicated to educating users in the Middle East and North Africa. Through it, visitors can access digital-literacy resources designed to help keep users, particularly young people, safe on the internet. The documents are available in English, Arabic and French. It also features learning modules for students between the ages of 13 and 18 that were created by Meta through partnerships with experts in the region.

“As our society continues to grow, online education and training have become a critical resource in almost every aspect of life, be it personal or professional,” Halaseh said. “It has become a fundamental component of people’s growth choices.

“Accordingly, we devote significant resources to ensuring our platforms provide people with a safe and positive experience, which is why we invest heavily in tools and programs to safeguard people.”


Studio 1932, Pressman Film team up for film production in Saudi Arabia

Studio 1932, Pressman Film team up for film production in Saudi Arabia
Updated 09 December 2022

Studio 1932, Pressman Film team up for film production in Saudi Arabia

Studio 1932, Pressman Film team up for film production in Saudi Arabia
  • Companies sign a deal to create drama feature film set in ancient Arabia

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Studio 1932 and Hollywood’s Pressman Film announced on Friday a new partnership that will see the creation of a feature film shot in the Kingdom.

The American production house said it has signed a deal with Studio 1932 to film an action-drama feature based in ancient Arabia.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Studio 1932 on the development of films and tv to be made in Saudi Arabia for global audiences. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to cinema is one of the most interesting developments in the global marketplace for media today,” commented Edward Pressman, producer.

“We are proud to bring 50-plus years of industry experience as well as to share our relationships in the creative and technical spheres of production with the evolving landscape of Saudi media.”

The new partnership is the latest contribution to a flourishing film sector in the country and will be an opportunity to showcase not only the savoir-faire of the Saudi film industry but highlight the Kingdom’s diverse landscapes, regions, history and traditions through the camera lens.

The collaboration of cultural and creative value was made possible by the support of the Saudi Film Commission and the commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the companies also highlighted.

Founded in 1969, Pressman Film has produced over 80 world-class motion pictures that have kickstarted the careers of several of the most prominent figures in the movie industry.

Pressman’s classic productions include “Conan the Barbarian,” “American Psycho,” “The Crow,” “Thank You for Smoking” and “Wall Street,” directed by Oliver Stone, president of the International Jury of the 2022 Rea Sea Film Festival.


Saudi Film Commission announces new fund for local productions

Saudi Film Commission announces new fund for local productions
Updated 09 December 2022

Saudi Film Commission announces new fund for local productions

Saudi Film Commission announces new fund for local productions
  • Daw aims to provide additional support to fast-growing industry
  • Applications open from December 11

LONDON: 

The Saudi Film Commission has launched a grant scheme dedicated to supporting local productions and talent.

The Daw funding program was announced during the Red Sea International Film Festival, which is taking place from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10 in Jeddah. It is designed to stimulate the growth of the Saudi film sector and support private investment in industry.

“Daw is part of our continued efforts to encourage Saudi filmmakers and production companies to express their creativity and help us grow the Saudi film industry,” Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf said.

“The commission launched several initiatives over the past few years to develop the sector’s infrastructure and invest in our local talent, because we truly believe in the potential of Saudi filmmakers and production houses and strive to help them show their productions on the global stage.”

The new grant is built upon the success of last year’s Daw Film Competition, which saw 30 winners across five film categories.

Daw offers financial grants for Saudi-based production companies looking to produce short films or feature films.

The program is open from December 11 and will be available for three types of film: fiction, documentaries, and animation.

Applications will go through a rigorous four-step evaluation and will be assessed by a committee of leading experts.

Earlier this year the commission, a Saudi government body affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, unveiled a cash rebate program that is open for local and international production companies, which will stimulate Saudi filmmaking.

The film industry is “one of the most prominent and as well as fastest growing cultural sectors in Saudi Arabia,” said Najla Al-Nomair, chief strategy and business development officer at the Cultural Development Fund.

The film commission aims to develop the sector in the country, creating jobs and increasing the industry’s contribution to the economy.


Iranian women named ‘Heroes of the Year 2022’ by Time magazine

Iranian women named ‘Heroes of the Year 2022’ by Time magazine
Updated 09 December 2022

Iranian women named ‘Heroes of the Year 2022’ by Time magazine

Iranian women named ‘Heroes of the Year 2022’ by Time magazine
  • ‘Educated, secular, liberal’ Iranian women have been the backbone of the protests

LONDON: The women of Iran have been named Time magazine’s Heroes of the Year 2022 for their pivotal role in widespread protests against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian women, who were described by the New York-based magazine as “educated, secular, liberal,” took to the streets in mid-September following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of morality police.

Protesters demanded changes to the strict rules imposed by the Tehran regime.

The cover of the magazine, which is due to be published on Dec. 26, will feature an image of three unveiled Iranian women locking arms in defiance of the country’s rulers.

 

 

Iranian-American writer and former Time columnist Azadeh Moaveni has also written an accompanying piece lauding the actions of Iranian women and highlighting their importance in protests that have swept the country.

“These younger women are now in the streets. The movement they’re leading is educated, liberal, secular, raised on higher expectations, and desperate for normality — college and foreign travel, decent jobs, rule of law, access to the Apple Store, a meaningful role in politics, the freedom to say and wear whatever,” Moaveni wrote.

“I can only conclude that when a generation’s aspirations for freedom appear tantalizingly within reach, the more humiliating the remaining restrictions seem and the less daunting the final stretch of resistance feels.” 

Moaveni also wrote that what might appear to be a feminist revolt in fact carried the grievances of an entire society.


Brazil’s press officer shocks World Cup reporters by throwing cat to the floor in media conference

Brazil’s press officer shocks World Cup reporters by throwing cat to the floor in media conference
Updated 09 December 2022

Brazil’s press officer shocks World Cup reporters by throwing cat to the floor in media conference

Brazil’s press officer shocks World Cup reporters by throwing cat to the floor in media conference
  • Football star Vinicius Jr laughed out of shock

LONDON: The press officer of the Brazilian national team shocked journalists when he picked up a cat that had interrupted footballer Vinicius Jr’s press conference on Wednesday and threw it on the floor.

The stray was caught on camera jumping onto the table in front of the unnamed Brazil media officer while the Real Madrid forward, 22, was answering questions ahead of the World Cup clash with Croatia.

The press officer picked up the cat with both hands and disposed of it ruthlessly, shocking journalists, while the football star froze and then laughed, seemingly out of astonishment.

The video of Brazil’s press officer mistreating the cat went viral, and fans on social media criticized his action, with one hoping “Brazil don't win the World Cup now."


67 journalists, media workers killed on the job this year

67 journalists, media workers killed on the job this year
Updated 09 December 2022

67 journalists, media workers killed on the job this year

67 journalists, media workers killed on the job this year
  • The Brussels-based IFJ recorded five deaths of journalists amid this year’s political crisis in Pakistan
  • Group called on governments to take more concrete action to protect journalists

BRUSSELS: Russia’s war in Ukraine, chaos in Haiti and rising violence by criminal groups in Mexico contributed to a 30 percent spike in the number of journalists killed doing their work in 2022 over the previous year, according to a new report released Friday.
The International Federation of Journalists says that 67 journalists and media staff have been killed around the world so far this year, up from 47 last year.
The Brussels-based group also tallied 375 journalists currently imprisoned for their work, with the most in China, Myanmar and Turkiye. Last year’s report listed 365 journalists behind bars.
With the number of media workers killed on the rise, the group called on governments to take more concrete action to protect journalists and free journalism.
“The failure to act will only embolden those who seek to suppress the free flow of information and undermine the ability of people to hold their leaders to account, including in ensuring that those with power and influence do not stand in the way of open and inclusive societies,” IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said in a statement.
More media workers were killed covering the war in Ukraine – 12 in total — than in any other country this year, according to the IFJ. Most were Ukrainian but also included those of other nationalities such as American documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud. Many deaths occurred in the first chaotic weeks of the war, though threats to journalists continue as the fighting drags on.
The IFJ said “the rule by terror of criminal organizations in Mexico, and the breakdown of law and order in Haiti, have also contributed to the surge in killings.” 2022 has been one of the deadliest ever for journalists in Mexico, which is now considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone.
The group recorded five deaths of journalists amid this year’s political crisis in Pakistan, and warned of new threats to journalists in Colombia and continued danger for journalists in the Philippines despite new leadership there.
It also called out the shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as she was reporting from a Palestinian refugee camp. The Arab network this week formally asked the International Criminal Court to investigate her death.
The Brussels-based IFJ represents 600,000 media professionals from trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries. The report was released on the eve of the United Nations’ Human Rights Day.