A group of ALiGN’s international partners, including members from non-profit organizations and the academic sector, came together in October for a virtual brainstorming session to discuss refugees’ media and communication practices in the times of COVID-19. Organized by Dr. Ghadah Alrasheed, Interim co-Director of the ALiGN Media Lab, in collaboration with Dr. Oroub El-Abed, the principal investigator for the Centre for Lebanese Studies in Jordan, the brainstorming session brought together academic researchers and media and civil society actors to highlight key needs and areas pertinent to the impact of media and communication practices on refugees’ pandemic preparedness and the situation of information/misinformation among refugees during COVID-19. The main objective of the meeting was to provide a channel for civil society members to be heard by academic researchers and attune academics to community members’ concerns and priorities.
Among the participants was Internews in Lebanon, an independent media organization, whose one of main concerns is combating disinformation and create effective information exchange between public health agencies and vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 in Lebanon. Collateral Repair project, which provides care for refugees and disadvantaged communities in Jordan, also joined the meeting and highlighted their need for various communication media to reach vulnerable and rural communities with no online access or enough finance to afford internet connectivity,
The ALiGN Media Lab, who also has a partnership with LERRN, Carleton’s Local Engagement Refugee Research Network, is planning to continue these conversations and collaborations and working collectively with their local and international partners to discuss and facilitate research on communication and media needs of the most precarious populations during most urgent times such as we are living now.