Press Freedom in the MENA Region: 10 years after the Arab Spring

Press Freedom in the MENA Region: 10 years after the Arab Spring

Wed, Jun 2, 2021 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

Register here.

On the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring, the state of free press in the MENA region is as tenuous as ever. Reporters continue to work in hostile environments ten years after what many had hoped to be a revolutionary movement and a peaceful uprising against oppressive regimes across the Middle East and North Africa. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) invites you to join us in conversation with journalists to discuss the current state of press freedom in the MENA region, what we can do to combat threats and how global collaborations like ICIJ’s FinCEN Files, Luanda Leaks and Panama Papers help free press thrive. From access to information and censorship, to investigating corruption and threats against female journalists, we look back on the changes over the decade and why hope for the region remains.

This roundtable discussion will feature Jelena Cosic, ICIJ’s training manager and Eastern Europe partnership coordinator, ICIJ member Alia Ibrahim, co-founder and CEO of, ICIJ member Malek Khadhraoui, executive director of Inkyfada and Saja Mortada, investigative journalist with the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ).

This virtual event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP and we’ll see you June 2, 9:00am EDT / 3:00pm CEST.

Jelena Cosic is ICIJ’s training manager and Eastern European partnership coordinator, implementing training programs on ICIJ’s platforms internally and across ICIJ’s global network. Prior to joining ICIJ, she worked as a reporter, regional coordinator and project manager for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), a grouping of non-government organizations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values across southern and eastern Europe.

Alia Ibrahim is an ICIJ member from Lebanon and co-founder and CEO of, an independent digital media platform launched in November 2017. Before that, Alia was Senior Correspondent at Al-Arabiya News Channel. Since 2015, she has produced and directed investigative reports for the network’s Special Mission program. Alia joined Al-Arabiya in 2008 as a senior news correspondent covering the Arab region. Her opinion and news stories appeared in a number of publications including The Washington Post, where she was a contributing reporter between 2005 and 2011. She started her career in 1996 as a general news reporter at The Daily Star in Beirut. She became Managing Editor of the newspaper in 2004. After that, she shifted to broadcast and became Dubai TV’s Beirut-based correspondent. Since 2016, she has been an instructor of journalism at the Lebanese American University.

Malek Khadhraoui is an ICIJ member from Tunisia and a journalist, trainer, and publication director of Inkyfada, a Tunisian magazine dedicated to investigative and long-form journalism. He is also Executive Director of Al Khatt, a nonprofit organization which supports independent journalism and provides solutions for creating impactful journalistic content. He is also a consultant for several national and international organizations working in the field of training and media support.

Saja Mortada is a Lebanese journalist with a master’s degree in media from Antonine University in Lebanon and the University of Toulon in France. She is currently working as project manager of the Arab Fact-Checkers Network (AFCN) and as an investigative and data journalist with the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ). Saja carried out investigative reports on human rights issues in her country, and an investigation in the context of the global project FinCEN Files with ICIJ in 2020. She previously worked with Almayadeen TV, Black and White for media production, Raseef22 and Assafir Newspaper. In recent years, Saja has developed her skills in data journalism, mobile journalism, digital storytelling and fact-checking.

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