Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Al Sawt Al Hurr held one of its most successful workshops at the southern Egyptian city of Sohag on 18-20 February, 2012. Over 30 journalists from the cities of Sohag , Assiut and Qena took part in the workshop which covered legal protection for journalists and international standards for quality journalism.

Very well received
The workshop was very well received by the journalists who took part, and all participants agreed that this was the first time that an organization specialized in training journalists had come to their city to do such an activity in cooperation with the Egyptian Press Syndicate.


“This is the first time that the Press Syndicate holds a workshop for journalists at the Governorate of Sohag,” said Al-Sayed Abdel-Aziz, a journalist at Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA). “We hope that you continue doing this kind of work, and won't hold only one workshop. We want many similar trainings because that’s what we need as journalists here,” Abdel-Aziz added. The main remark that was repeated in all the evaluation forms filled by participants was “we want more similar workshops,” or that they were hoping that this workshop had lasted longer.

Professional level
Participants were particularly pleased with the professional level of trainers, namely prominent journalist and trainer Yasser Abdel-Aziz, as well as Tarek El-Beltagi, who provided the legal training.
South Egypt, known as the Saeed, has long been described in the media as “Al-Saeed El-Mansy” or the “ignored Saeed,” simply because that vital part of Egypt has long been ignored by the central government in Cairo. The Saeed is not just being ignored in terms of basic services, such as schools, hospitals and roads, but also in terms of dealing with the concerns of its people through the local media.

Most of the journalists registered with the Press Syndicate work as correspondents for Cairo-based newspapers, which hardly give space for news of regions outside Cairo. Sohag, Assiut and Qena, all lack any local newspapers that cover their own issues and concerns. However, there is a local, state-owned television, Teeba TV, and a radio channel that are directed mainly towards the Saeed or southern Egypt governorates.

First workshop for journalists in Sohag
Since this was the first ever workshop to be held in Sohag for its journalists, both the local television and radio channels covered the event and conducted interviews with the trainers and the participating journalists.

Plans for more
Considering the very positive response from participants, ASAH plans to hold more workshops in other cities in southern Egypt, as well as different parts of the country such as the Canal cities and Sinai. The main goal would be to improve the standards of local journalists, and to help in improving the quality of journalism presented to the Egyptian audience, in general. That’s mostly needed in post-Mubarak Egypt in order to help citizens make the right decisions in a country that’s aspiring to build a democratic system.