Categories
Future of Media Journalist security Press freedom

UGANDA GOVERNMENT COMMITS TO PROMOTING PRESS FREEDOM 

Uganda’s Minister of Information, Communication Technology (ICT) Dr. Chris Baryomunsi has pledged government’s commitment to promote media freedom in Uganda.  

By: Gerald Walulya 

While speaking at the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day on May 5, 2022 in Kampala, Uganda, Baryomunsi said that the government has allowed “reasonable press freedom in Uganda.” 

“The position of government is that the media should be free. I have spoken in audiences of security and police officers and I have insisted that media practitioners should be given freedom and space to practice their profession,” Baryomunsi said before further pledging that: “As long as I am the minister in charge of information I will insist that the police and security have no right whatsoever to harass journalists as they do their work because media practice and journalism is a service like any other.” 

The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi (center) handing over an award to Dr. Patricia Litho (second from left), the Board Chairperson of Uganda Media Women’s Association (Photo: Christopher Zziwa).

His comments came in the wake of increased attacks on journalists by the police and army that have left several journalists injured and their equipment destroyed. A press freedom index released recently by a local NGO, Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda shows that the Police and the army are the leading perpetuators of press freedom violations in Uganda. 

The recent attacks on journalists have seen Uganda’s 2022 ranking in the World Press Freedom index drop to 132 from 125 in the previous year.  

Baryomunsi acknowledged that media practitioners and journalists need to be supported and protected because they perform an important role in society. 

“We need to work together and we need to support journalists, to protect them but also most importantly to respect and appreciate that they are also doing their work,” he said. 

The keynote speaker, Robert Kabushenga advised journalists to change their mindset as well as retooling and reskilling themselves to fit in the new digital world. 

Mr. Robert Kabushenga, the former Managing Director of the State owned Vision group who was the keynote speaker (Photo: Christopher Zziwa).  

The commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day was supported by the Journalism & Media International Centre of Oslo Metropolitan University.  

Event youtube channel: 

Categories
Press freedom Students

THE RIG ON PRESS FREEDOM IN UGANDA 

By: Gerald Walulya

The Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University in Uganda has hosted a one week session of the Rig Press Freedom project. 

Some of the participants in The Rig on press freedom posing for pictures with some of their lecturers at the former faculty of arts building at Makerere University. (Photo: Sharon Muzaki)

The reporting on press freedom focused on five countries namely; Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Germany and Burundi. 

Thirty three final year journalism students participated in the project. They were divided into five groups, with each group focusing on one country. The five groups of students were supported by five local teachers and one support teacher, Dr. Florence Namasinga Selnes from Oslo Metropolitan University.  

Students of journalism at Makerere University attending a lecture about press freedom. The lecture, given by Florence Namasinga Selnes focused on the state of freedom of the press in the world in general and in Uganda in particular. (Photo: Sharon Muzaki)

The main task of the participating students was to write news stories on the media freedom environment in the assigned countries. The project started on Friday 22, April with a lecture to students and staff of Makerere University on Press Freedom that was given by Dr. Namasinga Selnes. 

According to the participants, the project has been very beneficial and full of experiences, making it a better orientation into the journalism practice. 

Some of our students discussing Rig stories. (Photo: Gerald Walulya)

“I have learnt how to report international stories. I have received exposure of how to relate with international sources, “Rehema Namagembe, one of the participants said. “My participation in the Rig has helped me to build confidence in interviewing people on phone and making thorough research on stories outside Uganda,” Daphine Nakabiri, said. Another participant, Gloria Irankunda said: “I got to know that media houses in most African countries operate under hardships in form of threats and physical assault.”  

The Head of Department of Journalism and Communication, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala spoke of the students experience with the Rig as enriching in terms of helping students to appreciate the press freedom environment in other countries.  

The project was sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Journalism & Media international Centre (JMIC) of Oslo Metropolitan University. This is the second time the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University has hosted this project. The first Rig project was conducted in 2018. 

Categories
Climate change Press freedom Webinar

MY CLIMATE CHANGE STORY: The democratization of climate news

“What does two degrees Celsius actually mean to people? Information and debate are dominated by national governments, large enterprises, scientists, and academia. Our community’s experience has been ignored; and left out of the search for solutions.”

My Climate Change Story is a project initiated by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) to collect climate change vignettes from the people experiencing climate change first-hand and working together to protect the environment to make a difference. Submissions will be uploaded to My Climate Change YouTube Channel to begin a global discussion. 

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2022, a virtual event to discuss the democratization of climate information is organized with support from JMIC. In the first part of the webinar, two small videos will be presented. It will be followed by a panel of experts who will speak to the UNESCO theme and climate journalists.  

Sasha Chavkin, of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Columbia Journalism Review, has reported “Many of the countries that have seen the most violence against environmental defenders in recent years also rank near the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index.” Journalists must feel confident and safe to report their stories for the greater public good.” 

Speakers include:

Categories
Journalist security Workshop

Staying safe at the digital workplace

A four-day training workshop on digital security in hostile environments with strong media systems was completed on April 22, 2022. The workshop took place as part of a continuous collaboration between Forman Christian College University (FCCU) in Lahore in Pakistan and JMIC/OsloMet. 

By Dr. Altaf Ullah Khan

Group photo on the completion of 4-day journalists’ safety workshop (Photo: Media center FCCU).

The theme of the training is relevant globally. In a country like Pakistan it becomes even more important. Journalism is a dangerous profession in the country and digital safety is of paramount importance amid polarization in both society and media. Keyboard warriors and clickbait culture has put journalists in an extremely vulnerable position. Knowing the basics of digital safety is an important resource for good journalism. 

We are thankful to OsloMet for the financial and expert support in organizing this important training. The trainer Ms. Abeer Saady did a wonderful job by bringing home the skills to the participants.  

Dr Abeer Saady talks about digital security measures (Photo: Media center FCCU).

Our heartiest gratitude to the participants, a group representative of media professionals, academia, and students from different cities of Pakistan. The interactive and proactive nature of the workshop was the key to its success.  

The daily roundup for each day was produced to accommodate as much views as possible on different themes from participants. It was also an effort to recognize the contribution of all who participated in the workshop by giving them a visual representation. 

The final video of the workshop gives an overview of the whole activity as well as contains testimonials.  

We are also thankful to the rector and vice rector of FCCU for their support and active presence.  

Last but not least my special thanks to student volunteers of FCCU who tirelessly worked to support the workshop as well as played a key role in producing the deliverables. 

In the end I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the organization and completion of the international activity in the month of Ramadan. 

Dr Abeer Saady and Dr Altaf Ullah Khan pose for a picture outside Lahore Press Club (LPC)

We look forward to more international partnerships in the very near future. This collaboration is also a testimony to the fact that international collaboration to solve the shared problems of humanity is possible. We only need the will to act, the commitment to work hard, and the trust to build a better world. 

More information:  

Video report on workshop on Digital Security in Hostile Environments with Strong Media Systems (Media center FCCU): https://youtu.be/zqdK4brhHdk    

Categories
Journalist security Press freedom Workshop

JMIC trains Ukrainians and Russians in safety 

JMIC safety coach Abeer Saady led a safety training organized by the organization Unbias the News March 22.: Reporting in a conflict zone – Safety and ethics. 

Ukrainian journalists receiving support

194 people had registered, and 67 people entered the zoom room. Among those registered were 17 from Ukraine and 11 from Russia, informs Unbiasthenews, https://unbiasthenews.org/about-us/ 

The other participants were from all over the world – especially African and Arab countries. Many asked questions – several had experience from covering the war in Ukraine. 

Abeer Saady has previously provided such training to Ukrainian journalists, and is still in contact with some of them. Also after this workshop, she has had contact with participants from Ukraine and Russia, among others. 

Categories
Photo journalism Students Workshop

Online editing workshop 2022

By: Ellen Lande Gossner

After a month in the field in Nepal, Bangladesh and different European countries working on individual projects, the students returned for a five day online editing workshop led by Munem Wasif. 

Munem Wasif from his intro lecture on editing principles. 

The editing process was a part of the International Storytelling project 2022 for the 6 students from photo.circle in Kathmandu, 6 students from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka and 9 students from OsloMet. 

The week consisted of lectures on the editing process and different editing exercises. The participants edited and gave feedback to each other in groups. 

Berlin-based Barbara Stauss, a photo director and founding member of Mare magazine, gave a lecture on editing work in editorial spaces.  

Katrin Koenning showing images from her own exhibitions.

Katrin Koenning gave an engaging and personal artist talk where she shared and explained the various processes of editing in books and exhibitions.   

The main questions for the students’ individual editing were: 

·   What is the story all about? 

·   Does the edit reflect the idea behind the story? 

·   Does the edit have enough visual variety or is it repetitive? 

·   Do you develop any logic for editing it? 

The five day workshop ended Friday April 1 with a an online presentation session, where each of the students had to critique another student’s work.  

Categories
Gender Journalist security Press freedom War and peace

Safety of Women Journalists:

Solidarity in the Face of Challenges

By: Therese San Diego Torres

Courage, compassion, and commitment in the face of challenges —these were demonstrated by the women journalists and researchers who shared their stories on March 8, International Women’s Day.


Organized by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) and the Journalism & Media International Center (JMIC) at OsloMet, the online event “Challenges to the Safety of Women Journalists” was moderated by Elisabeth Eide, veteran journalist, writer, and professor of journalism studies. IAWRT president Violet Gonda opened the program, while Oona Solberg of OsloMet delivered the closing remarks.

The discussions revolved around the obstacles women journalists face in different parts of the world, and how they continue to stand up against threats and attacks. The momentous event brought together eleven speakers from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East:

  • Oleksandra Hrybenko from Ukraine, a PhD student at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at OsloMet in Norway
  • Inna Berezkina from Russia, speaking from exile, programme coordinator at the School of Civic Education
  • Najiba Ayubi, US-based Afghan journalist and activist for human rights and media freedom, Director General of DHSA/The Killid Group, and chapter head of IAWRT in Afghanistan
  • Kreshma Fakhri, Turkey-based journalist working with The Killid Group since 2009, reporting on corruption, human rights, violence against women and children, and civil war in Afghanistan
  • Birgitte Jallov from Denmark, Director of EMPOWERHOUSE, an initiative supporting community media and civil society organizations towards sustainability
  • Therese San Diego Torres, IAWRT Philippines Board Member and Research, Policy, and Advocacy Director at the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC)
  • Rand Sabbagh, Berlin-based Syrian feminist journalist and researcher and Deputy Director at the Syrian Women Journalists Network
  • Dr. Naila Hamdy from Egypt, associate professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, and associate dean for research and graduate studies at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP)
  • Raziah Quallateon Mwawanga from Tanzania, media expert, trainer, mentor and consultant, and member of IAWRT Tanzania, East African and Tanzania Editors Society and Forum, and Tanzania Media Women’s Association
  • Nabeelah Shabbir, British-Pakistani journalist based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Senior Research Associate at the International Center for Journalists
  • Sonali Dhawan, researcher from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) who previously served as program officer with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights

Among the highlights were the sharing of the speakers from Ukraine and Russia. With all eyes on their respective home countries, they talked about the experiences of journalists who stayed in Ukraine despite being targeted by the Russian army and facing threats of harassment and rape. They expressed their support for Russian journalists who continue to speak the truth amid the ban and shutdown of all independent media, and the detention, torture, and killing of journalists and human rights defenders.

During the program, participants also witnessed a performance by IAWRT Philippines member Marilyn Mirana, who sang “Easy to Lose Hope” against a backdrop of images of women displaying messages of support for journalists and media workers. The song was dedicated to Veronica Guerin, a crime reporter from Ireland who was murdered by drug lords in June 1996.

The keynote presentation provided a glimmer of hope, as it featured the Digital Safe House (DSH) for Women Journalists spearheaded by IAWRT and International Media Support (IMS) with IAWRT Philippines as beneficiary. A pilot project, the DSH is an online platform featuring a reporting mechanism for Filipino women journalists under threat or attack, as well as a portal of resources such as safety training, peer support and counseling, and legal assistance.

Inna Berezkina from Russia, speaking from exile, said, “I hope people will be judged by their deeds, not the color of their passport, because evil has no nationality. And I believe that solidarity shouldn’t have it either.”

The online event provided a venue for women across the globe to listen to each other’s stories and strengthen their solidarity in order to overcome the common struggle against threats and attacks on female truth tellers.

Categories
Book Launch

Book launch: “På vei mot hindunasjonalisme”

Thursday 17th of March, Elisabeth Eide and co-writer Terje Skaufjord, launched the book På vei mot hindunasjonalisme (Towards Hindunationalism) together with their publisher Res Publica. Mala Wang-Naveen moderated the event, and Professor Kathinka Frøystad from Oslo University gave her views on the book.

Elisabeth Eide at Melahuset.

A crowd gathered at the Mela house in downtown Oslo, an arena engaging cultural diversity and literary events, where writers Eide and Skaufjord launched their book about the development of right-wing Hindu nationalism in India. From many travels to India, and recent field work, the book extensively covers this topic, and warns against growing far-right extremism in India. 

Elisabeth Eide and Terje Skaufjord at the round table.

After a discussion at the round table covering the topic, Eide continued the evening greeting friends and eager fans who wanted to have a chance to talk – and for an opportunity of a signed autograph from the author.

After the round table, Eide socialised with the crowd of attendees.

Elisabeth Eide, University Professor emeritus at OsloMet, is known for her substantial number of books and articles within journalism and media studies. She made her debut in 1994 with Til Kabul faller, and continued to cover various topics in the region, amongst others in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2002 Eide was awarded the Ossietzky Award.

Categories
Journalist security Workshop

JMIC trains 49 journalism students in Uganda in safety

By Gerald Walulya, JMIC coordinator – Uganda.

The Journalism & Media International Center in conjunction with the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University, Uganda have conducted a four-day webinar on safety and security of journalists.  

 JMIC  safety trainer Abeer Saady teaching.

The webinar was attended by 49 final year journalism students and early career journalists from Uganda. The training sessions that started on Monday, 7th March were concluded on 10th March, 2022.  

Dr. Ivan Lukanda spoke on behalf of the Head of Department

Dr. Ivan Lukanda, who spoke on behalf of the Head of Department, noted that the training is crucial for young journalists, because it enables them to know what to do when they are attacked so that they secure their safety. He commended JMIC for its continued support towards the Department that has enabled them to prepare their students. 

The webinar was facilitated by both local and international facilitators. Local facilitators included, Claire Muhindo, the online content manager of Africa Centre for Media Excellence, a local media support organisation and Tabu Butagira, the Managing Editor of Nation Media Group – Uganda.  

Other trainers included, Abeer Saady, a recognised safety trainer associated with Journalism & Media International Center and Marte Høiby, a Senior Research Scientist at SINTEF Digital, Norway. 

Marte Høiby is a Senior Research Scientist at SINTEF.

Claire Muhindo told participants that journalists should be cautious of their safety digitally, physically and other aspects, because unsafe journalists cannot tell good stories. 

Muhindo advised participants to always backup their data, avoid opening emails from untrusted sources, distancing themselves from usage of public Wi-Fi, noting that doing so exposes their accounts to hackers.  

Tabu Butagira shared with participants his safety and security experience as a journalist in Uganda. He warned participants against sharing a lot of information about their lives and family on social media platforms because this information can be used by wrong elements to their disadvantage.  

“Nothing posted on the digital platforms that cannot be accessed, if wanted. If you don’t want to be recorded anywhere, don’t write. People put [photo] albums on their social media platforms, hence leaving digital footprints.” Butagira said. 

“You will never know when you will write a story that will put you into trouble. Always ask yourself if what you are putting on your social media is the right information, and what are the risks? You will see no danger to upload anything, until the danger comes, and it will be too late.” He warned.  

Abeer Saady took participants through a host of issues related to safety and security including, risk management and safety planning while working in hostile environments,  situational awareness and ethical dilemmas related to safety and security.  

Jill Ainebyoona, an early career journalist who was one of the participants said that the webinar had polished his knowledge about safety and security. 

“The workshop has opened my eyes about the danger of exposing ourselves through what we post [on social media] and I will continue distancing myself from that practice,” he said. 

Susan Nakangwe, another participant said “As a result of the webinar training, I’m in position to protect myself in case of a crisis. I would know when to step aside as well as when to approach the crowd to pick key information. Also, I learnt the essence of wearing protective gear while reporting.” 

Categories
Photo journalism

OsloMet alumni Afshin Ismaeli awarded Picture of the Year 2021

By Jon Petter Evensen

The OsloMet alumni, journalist Afshin Ismaeli was awarded Picture of the Year 2021.*

Photograph: Afshin Ismaeli.

The winning images shows Taliban-commander Amir Mohammed Mohammed trying a rowing machine inside the Norwegian Embassy in Kabul after the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

The third year photojournalism student Rodrigo Freitas received a 3rd prize in the domestic documentary  category for his reportage about ocean plastic waste.

Photograph: Rodrigo Freitas.

His fellow student Hanna Johre was awarded best short video documentary for her story about the conflict between a sámi reindeer owner and the wind turbine power plant developers.

Link to video: https://www.hannajohre.com/

The award ceremony was held on 4 March. More winners and info about Pictures of The year:

https://journalisten.no/afshin-ismaeli-foto-fotojournalistikk/dette-er-arets-bilde/505295