In early December 2019, as the world was just beginning to learn about COVID, the Hollings Center held a dialogue in Tunis on the New Media landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. For our inaugural podcast episode, we are pleased to welcome back Bayan Tal and Fatima Bahja to pick up where we left off with that dialogue. They discuss how media organizations have dealt with the deluge of misinformation and disinformation around the pandemic, new challenges journalists are facing, and what it will take to rebuild trust in the journalism profession.
Bayan Tal is a media literacy, media and communication specialist with more than 40 years of experience. She began her career as a broadcast journalist, anchor, and later executive at the Jordan Radio and Television Corporation (JRTVC). She then served as director of international media and communication for His Majesty King Abdullah II. Tal later returned to JRTVC as its first female Director General. During six years as senior adviser at Jordan Media Institute, Tal designed and led the first Media and Information Literacy (MIL) project in Jordan. She is currently part of a team of experts working with the National Center for Curriculum Development to integrate MIL into grades K2-12. Tal is also member of the Boards of Trustees of the Crown Prince Foundation and the Baptism Development Zone Foundation.
Fatima Bahja works with the New Initiatives team at International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to help develop new and innovative projects that enable journalists around the world to serve and empower their communities. She manages the proposal development process and identifies new funding and partnership opportunities to advance ICFJ’s mission of raising the quality of journalism worldwide. She also supports ICFJ’s programs in the Middle East and North Africa, including IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center for New Media Startups. Before joining ICFJ, she completed her M.A. in communication, culture and technology at Georgetown University where she studied the intersection of media, technology, and politics. During her graduate career, she published a study on The New York Times’ use of citizen journalism to frame the coverage of the Syrian civil war. She earned her B.A. in in international politics from Georgetown University’s branch campus in Doha, Qatar.