Bahrain in Focus

Student journalist and activist Faten Bushehri is putting a spotlight on media censorship in Bahrain

2014.09.22 | Hannah Spyksma

The very first module that students on the Mundus Journalism programme take in Aarhus is called Reporting Global Change. Based at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, the module is an incubator of sorts.

Tucked away inside a classroom nicknamed “the bunker”, each class introduces students to some of the key academic thinking underpinning journalism scholarship. For the duration of September it intertwines these learnings with analysis of the complexities of contemporary journalism practice around the world, asking students to critically examine how and why and what makes global news.

It’s also one of the first opportunities for students to really get to know each other better. Tutorials are sandwiched between lectures and plenaries, requiring students to work together and most of all, to think reflexively about the journalism cultures they come from and how people understand the changing world through the media. As such, learning extends beyond the teachers and is peer to peer.

 “I really wanted to raise awareness and knowledge about my country and put it on the map for everyone.”

So it is hardly surprising that this module is not only an incubator for learning and fostering friendships - it is also creating a unique platform for an international group of student journalists to share their experiences from the field. This year’s Mundus Journalism students are - in the best of student fashion - turning this opportunity for discussion into a social occasion.

Organised by Faten Bushehri, students are running a bimonthly film club to showcase documentaries from their home countries. First up was Al Jazeera documentary Shouting in the Dark from Bahrain. “I really wanted to raise awareness and knowledge about my country and put it on the map for everyone,” says Faten. "As a journalist I witnessed the international media blackout and silence on Bahrain. Not many people have heard about my country let alone what has gone on there, and if they have, the information they have is very shallow and limited. I wanted this documentary club to change that, especially so we have 74 journalism students in the house who will one day return to their countries, knowing about Bahrain.”

Faten is the first student on the programme not just from Bahrain, but from The Gulf Region. She says the importance of starting the documentary club is to "empower our global conscious as rising journalists. It’s pretty hard to care about issues in every country when there is no direct tie that connects us with these countries. This programme has brought us together, friendships have started to develop, emotions have got involved. All of this makes it harder for people to ignore what happens in their friends’ home countries."

“This was very obvious to me right after the screening of the documentary, I got many personal texts about how this was very informative and they were impressed, and grateful to learn and most of them offered to help spread awareness. This is the goal.” 

The next documentary club event will be in early October. 

To read more about Faten's experience of putting together the documentary event and her perspectives on being a young Bahraini journalist, visit her blog or follow her on twitter: @fatenhbu

Photo: Faten speaks at the documentary viewing about the media blackout in Bahrain. Credit: Jason A. Baguia

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