iMeedan was a partnership project, led by Meedan, a non-profit social technology company registered in California. During 2011 to 2012 Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) researchers Prof Tim Wall, Paul Bradshaw, and Noha Atef from the Interactive Cultures team, worked with other partners include independent Egyptian news organisation AlMasry AlYoum. The project was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The iMeedan project focused on making a contribution to improving media plurality in Egypt, through technological intervention and training. The iMeedan system allows users to translate news information to and from Arabic, and to assess the reliability of source material that they encounter online.
Citizen journalists were trained to use the technology, and AlMasry AlYoum aim to incorporate citizen journalism into the context of more traditional journalistic practice - the newspaper.
The Interactive Cultures team designed and delivered training material, and evaluated the project's success, both as an intervention and in terms of the broader intellectual context of media and democracy. The project activity and its evaluation will also contribute to Noha's PhD research.
The iMeedan project will also feed into another BCMCR project, Developing Citizen Journalists in the Arab Region, which works with citizens in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, and with Syrian citizens in Lebanon, to help citizen journalists to become trusted sources.
Both projects will contribute to strengthening democratic media in the following ways:
- Helping people to sort fact from rumour
- Enable citizens to make informed political choices
- Provide citizens with the knowledge required to hold their governments to account.
For more information about the iMeedan project, please visit the BCMCR website. This iMeedan project fed into the Check Global Project: Developing a Digital Literacy and Verification Network in the Global South.