On 6 December 2013, 4M Mashreq was officially launched in Beirut, with the aim of providing tailored guidance to new independent and innovative online news media which have a high potential for development.
The mission of 4M Mashreq is to identify new players in the online news sector in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine and to help them with their editorial, technical and financial development.
The project is being led by CFI, the French media cooperation agency, in partnership with Alt City (an enterprise facilitation and support organisation in Lebanon), Skeyes (Fondation Samir Kassir) and the Institut Français in Beyrouth.
Guidance over a period of several months
Following a call for applications from existing organisations and the selection of projects, five incubator sessions will be held in 2014 at Alt City's offices in Beirut. During these sessions, the projects will be supervised and developed with one-to-one coaching by international experts. The sessions will focus particularly on developing groundbreaking audio, video and data content, finding technical solutions, business models, and team leadership.
The most promising projects selected for 4M Mashreq will also be able to benefit from financial support under the European "Media and Culture" programme (terms and conditions apply).
Between each session, participants will be supervised by two teaching coordinators, Julien Le Bot (journalist and founder of the Yakwala news platform) and David Munir Nabti of Alt City. The best media projects developed will be presented at the 4M Mashreq Forum to be held in November 2014.
To mark the official launch of 4M Mashreq and the call for projects, CFI is organising a one-day professional conference in Beirut on 6 December, on the theme of "New Media: the Crucibles of Innovation".
Provisional timetable for 4M Mashreq
21 to 26 April: session 1
16 to 21 June: session 2
4 to 9 August: session 3
8 to 13 September: session 4
October 2014 : session 5, followed by 4M Forum Beirut