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Babelmed is a non profit organisation established in Rome in April 2001. Its main objective is to promote cultural exchanges in the Mediterranean and to spread information and ideas regarding this shared sea, particularly important today when prejudices and amalgamations are creating new barriers, both in the North and South.
In 2002, the association launched Babelmed.net. The site aims to be a link between actors, events and cultural production in the Mediterranean and to provide independent information on a wide range of issues. It is run by a central editorial team in Rome and a network of 17 correspondents around the Mediterranean Basin, so it can generate its own contents.
The organisation includes journalism practices.
The name “babelmed” refers to the Mediterranean “med” and its cultural diversity “babel”. “Bab”, the word for door in Arabic, also gives the impression of an open door. Babel is a mosaic of the languages found in the site: mainly French and English, and partly Arabic. The articles in the different country sections are presented in their original languages (for example, Italian and Spanish).
Public at large, and the media in particular, most often ignore that Western European countries are close to Muslim Mediterranean countries through history, cultural roots, mutual fertilisation of music, literature or films. Yet, the cultural dimension of these broad subjects constitutes a key factor towards improving mutual understanding and healing tensions.
Moreover, numerous cultural projects are implemented in the Mediterranean region but receive little coverage from national media. Today, introducing the Mediterranean countries’ culture to the general public is both a challenge and a crucial issue.
Independent reporting and Freedom of expression
Babelmed’s main goal is to provide information on cultural issues in the Mediterranean in a free and politically independent fashion. To this day, it has no equivalent on the Internet. Babelmed is a totally independent electronic medium. It does not belong to any media group and has no link with any political, professional or religious body. It operates with subsidies from foundations interested in cultural dialogue and freedom of expressionaround the Mediterranean.
Reporting in Babelmed considers Culture in its broader sense. The content of the site is divided into several sections: Cultural Agenda, Press review, Features, Creations and Archives. Each of the sections is then divided into sub-sections such as: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literature, etc. The site also contains on-line and interactive exhibitions, for example “Syria, in the eyes of Europe, or “The sense of commerce”. Societal issues as well as political questions are dealt with from a cultural point of view. It is always tried to give national or local phenomenon a larger and cross-cultural understanding.
Permanent sections deal with specific themes: Films, Books and CDs, Impressions, Travels, Cooking Chronicles, Poetry, Geoart. The content of the site is also available by country, while a research engine helps to find specific articles in the site from their source. The site also produces features on the most central issues of Mediterranean cultures, sorted by main themes (women, migration, war, cuisine, for example) or by geographical locations (cities: Alexandria, Beirut, Istanbul, Marseille, Palermo, Tangier; countries: Turkey). A blog section is now available for Babelmed journalists.
Babelmed’s editorial line is to decluster national Mediterranean culture by offering content produced by journalists who are immerged in the cultural, political and social space of their own country, allowing a better understanding of all its particulars. Furthermore, the dialogue within the network allows a comparative view of inter-crossing themes common to the whole Mediterranean area.
Cultural exchanges (information and ideas)
The site offers more than 300 links with the main cultural actors in the Mediterranean: Publishing houses, media, cultural institutions, museums, festivals, Independent places of creation and performance. Other intelligent links have been created with sites such as Medi1, Confluences Méditerranée, Actes Sud, Radio Orient. Qantara.de. It wants to be a platform of information and cultural exchanges with the main cultural places and media of the region.
- Prix Europa 2007's website, Babelmed.net is nominated as "best European website" 
- Few articles from Babelmed available on the GERM's website 
- "Immigration subsaharienne et droits de l’homme en Algérie", article from Babelmed.net edited on Algeria Watch, 16.04.2007 
- Interview with Mohamed Saïb Musette, edited on Algeria Watch, 16.04.2007 
- Interview with Halal Galal, edited on Euromed Héritage's website, 14.03.2007 
- Program of Arab and European Babelmed journalists' meeting, 05.05.2006, on Euromed Héritage's website 
- "Young Syrians and Lebanon", article from babelmed edited on The Arabist website, 17.12.2005 
- Interview with Amira Hass by a babelmed journalist, edited on Qantara.de in 2005 
- "A Myth Rebuilt in Alexandria", article from Babelmed, available from Fondation Anna Lindh's website 
- "Alger la blanche noyée dans le béton", by Daikha Dridi, article from babelmed.net edited in Courrier International, n°729 - 21 octobre 2004 [permanent dead link](French)
- "Menaces sur le patrimoine de Tripoli au Liban" by Antonia Naim, linked on Patrimoine Sans Frontières' website 
- Geocities link to numerous articles from Babelmed about Malta in 2002-2004 
- The Multicultural Skycraper newsletter, 06.06.2003, refers to Babelmed.net 
- Newsletter of the Delegation of the European Commission in Syria about the exhibition "Syrie, Eclats d'un mythe", March/April 2003 
- Newsletter of the European Commission, 12.12.2002 [permanent dead link]