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Middle East/North Africa

Germany: Reciprocal Recognition

Reassessing your own work, recognizing cultural differences, creating networks -- these are all things that DW-AKADEMIE's project "Reciprocal Recognition" tries to encourage. A second workshop took place in 2007.

A participant pins a card on the wall

Six German TV journalists and six TV journalists from the Arab world had the opportunity to exchange cultural and professional experiences at a one-week workshop in Bonn. Topics on the agenda included how people's perceptions of themselves differ from the image others have of them, the criteria that define news coverage, and the role the journalist plays.

The workshop was followed by practical training. Each Arab participant teamed up with a German colleague to form a "journalist partnership." The participants then spent two weeks at their partner journalist's home station. There, they produced TV reports for their station, together as a team.

A trainer speaks to participants

Project background: Over the past few years a new generation of news broadcasters has changed the Arab media landscape. These stations have increasingly influenced public opinion in the region and are becoming ever more important to western TV stations as distributors of information. For this reason, inter-cultural perceptions should be broadened and freed of prejudice.

"At first glance there seems to be hardly any difference between the way news is covered here and there," says project manager Udo Prenzel. The technology and the effects were the same, the presentation on the monitor was similar, he said. Nevertheless there were still prejudices and stereotypical perceptions of "the Arabs" and "the Europeans" on both sides.

"This is exactly what we wanted to address with this project," says Prenzel. "With these exchanges and team work we should be able to accomplish lasting changes in perceptions."