BEIRUT, November 29, 2017 – The 2nd Asian Women Sports Journalists Workshop kicked off in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, with the participation of 28 aspiring female journalists from 10 Asian countries. The workshop organized by AIPS Asia and the Lebanese Sports Media Association (LSMA) and under the patronage of Lebanese Minister of Information Melhem Riachi, aims to enhance the knowledge and reinforce the professional presence of the participants.
AIPS Asia president Sattam Alsahli, expressed his happiness for organization the event in Lebanon. “We are proud to host this event in Lebanon as we aspire to organize much more workshops across the continent.” he said during the opening ceremony.
Riachi welcomed the journalists and emphasized on the importance of the journalists’ job around the world. “Journalism is a message in our society and is the advocate to protect the public opinion. This is a first of its kind event happening in Lebanon and we hope it is not the last.”
AIPS Asia president Sattam Alsahli speaking during the Opening Ceremony of 2nd Asian Women Sports Journalists Workshop in Beirut, Lebanon. (Photo: LSMA)
For his part, LSMA president Rasheed Nassar insisted on the importance of Lebanon hosting such an event despite the concerns over the past few weeks. He said: “LSMA were keen to host this workshop to prove that Lebanon, despite all the crises, is a country that loves life. This event wouldn’t have happened if AIPS Asia had no trust in us and in Lebanon. Sports press in Lebanon needs the support of the government and the state and LSMA will soon organize workshops and seminars in order to improve sports press in the country.”
After the opening ceremony, May El Khalil, president of Beirut Marathon Association, who is considered one of the most powerful women in Lebanese society was the first speaker at the workshop. El Khalil spoke about “social commitment through sports” and shared with the journalists her experience over the past 15 years, and how she managed to change the concept and idea of running in Lebanon to organize the biggest annual sporting event of the year.
AIPS Asia Secretary General Amjad Aziz Malik introduced the girls to the history and structure of AIPS and AIPS Asia and how their roles improved throughout the years.
Lebanese Minister of Information Melhem Riachi speaking during the Opening Ceremony of 2nd Asian Women Sports Journalists Workshop in Beirut, Lebanon. (Photo: LSMA)
Lebanese TV sports presenter and anchor and former basketball player, Nathalie Mamo, who works currently at OSN after having worked at Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi and hosting the biggest Sports TV Reality show in the MENA region “The Victorious” on Dubai TV, spoke about the challenges she faced over her eight-year career
“Being a woman in this field is already the biggest challenge you face, because it so hard to convince people that you have a great knowledge, they would say “who are you to speak about sports?”, but I managed to gain the trust of the people through credibility, it is the most important factor in our work and I earned it with time.” She said
“The Victorious was the biggest challenge in my career, people do do not look at you in a serious way at the beginning, I will not call it sexual harassment, but they look at you ‘just’ as a woman. There is a probably a lot of good speakers or good on camera, but knowledge is the most important thing.
AIPS Asia Executive Committee member Hai Lun Chi who worked in radio, TV, newspaper and online media throughout the past 20 years, emphasized the importance of men and women having equal rights in all the fields, including journalism and sports journalism.
She said: “We need equal rights, whenever there is a big event, they tend to send men instead of women to cover them. We have to improve our personal skills, break the barriers so we can achieve our goals.”
The workshop continues over the next three days with different activates and lecturers.