Categories
Human rights

Calls for more openness in government 

By Gerald Walulya

The Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, Ms. Mariam Wangadya has warned public officials against denying citizens access to information in possession of the state.  

While speaking during the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on 28. September 2022 at Makerere University in Uganda, Ms. Wangadya said that many public officials use the excuse of the Official Secrets Act to refuse journalists and citizens access to information in public bodies. 

The main speakers, panelists and organisers 28 September (Photo: David Matovu).

“I wish to implore public officials to end the practice of hiding behind the official secrets Act and Oaths of Secrecy to deny the media and the general public harmless information to which they are legitimately entitled,” she said. 

The Official Secrets Act is a law in Uganda that bars public official from disclosing information about the state that they get to know about in exercise of their duties. 

Ms. Wangadya said that, “The offices we occupy, we hold them in the public trust, so the citizens of Uganda are entitled to flash a torch into what we are doing and to judge us, whether we are serving them or not, and I think that transparency and accountability requires the public to get access to what we are doing in our offices. So denying the public information is inconsistent with those values of transparency and accountability.’’ 

While speaking at the same event, Dr. Nakiwala Aisha Sembatya, the Head of Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University said that access to information is important for everyone because: “It is through this right that we are all able to access information from public bodies, which make it important for each one of us if we are to play an important role to the national and global development.” She commended the Journalism & Media International Centre for supporting the organisation of IDUAI celebration at Makerere University. 

Dr. Nakiwala Aisha Sembatya while speaking at the event (Photo: David Matovu).

Ms Rosemary Nasaba who spoke on behalf of the UNESCO Country Representative said that since IDUAI celebration started in 2016 it has provided an opportunity for spreading awareness on the need to expand laws related to information, their actual implementation to build inclusive institutions to access the world. “Today, ICTs such as Internet platforms and artificial intelligence are important enablers of this right. They can help bridge the digital divide by giving citizens access to tailor-made and accessible information that they can also ensure services that are more efficient. They can allow citizens to access public sector information and services nearer instantly, making government services digital hence enhancing transparency and accessibility.” She said. 

Ms. Nasaba, however, warned that these developments also raise questions about the fundamental rights, ethical use of artificial intelligence and e-governance by public institutions. “Since artificial intelligence uses citizens’ data, how do we protect the privacy of citizens? As you are aware, artificial intelligence can determine what information we access on which ethical principles is this determined? So it is important that stakeholders pay due attention, so that the use of e-governance and artificial intelligence builds trust, ensures inclusion, protects human rights, and ensures the participation of citizens.” 

UN Human Right Country Representative Ayeda Robert Kotchani (Photo: David Matovu).

The Country Representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Uganda, Mr. Ayeda Robert Kotchani, said at the same event that the lack of citizens access to information continues to hamper the realization of sustainable development in Africa. He said the growth of the Internet, its use and the emergency of new technologies have given access to information a renewed importance and greater scrutiny. “Technology and especially social media have been used to spread false information, unfortunately, either intentionally or unintentionally… IDUAI celebration reminds government of their duty to respect and to uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights.” He said. 

Local media stories about IDUAI: 

https://www.independent.co.ug/uhrc-wants-provisions-used-to-deny-citizens-information-amended/

https://www.ntv.co.ug/ug/news/government-officials-hiding-vital-information-uhrc-3965974

https://www.shiftmedianews.com/uganda-marks-internation-day-for-universal-access-to-information/

Categories
Journalist security Students

About threats in Yemen  

By Noha Abdullah

More than 40 students and journalists received digital training on how to deal with threats and hate campaigns in Yemen by JMIC trainer Abeer Saady 12 September.  

Professor Dr. Ali M. Al-Burihy, a professor of media  and communication at Sana’a University, made an introduction about the kind of threats media workers face locally, especially women. He emphasized that such training is not often provided in Yemen.  

The trainer Abeer Saady reviewed concepts and themes about the need for a journalist to feel safe and the things that a journalist should do through awareness of him- or herself and the surroundings. 

The poster for the third training in Yemen.

She discussed how to work in local communities and ways to work in the right way, as well as how to work with the management during press coverage in areas with internal conflicts.  

Saady also explained the method of threat analysis, risk management, and risk analysis. She discussed ways to face risks when dangerous threats occur, and ways to reduce threats. Comments and questions were also raised from some of the participants. 

The training was facilitated by Noha Abdullah in the Cultural Media Center (CMC) for the third time. They have received a lot of positive feedback after the online training:  

“If this indicates anything, it indicates the need for journalists for such sessions, especially in these circumstances that Yemen is going through. I really don’t know how to thank you all for this opportunity.”  

Categories
Gender Journalist security Press freedom

Award to Iraqi Kurdish journalist 

Niyaz Abdullah has been awarded by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Click to open link.

She is a member of International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) chapter in Kurdistan in Iraq, and has worked in Radio NAWA for many years.  

According to CPJ she has covered politics, civil unrest, government corruption, human rights, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan.  

She has faced legal harassment by security forces and local authorities, and she has been detained and threatened with violence over her work. 

Niyaz Abdullah has been granted residence in France. 

Categories
Investigative journalism Workshop

Investigative journalism techniques for Arab journalists

By: Lamis Issa

A physical training workshop was held in Tunis for seven journalists – four of them women – from Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon 28 – 30 June 2022. 

The workshop was part of the project “Support the right to information and investigative journalism on environmental issues in the MENA region» in cooperation with the local partner the Institute of Press and Information Sciences (IPSI ) at Manouba University in Tunisia. 

Hanene Zbiss, Trainer and Coach (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

The workshop comes within the framework of cooperation between Article 19 MENA and JMIC running for several years. The participants have also had digital lectures in access to information, the legal framework of investigative journalism and safety and security for journalists.   

During this workshop seven journalists from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were able to deepen their knowledge on investigative journalism on the following main topics: Investigative methodology, sources of information and writing an investigative report. 

From the right to the left, Joudy Asmar; Lebanese participant, and Hanene Zbiss; Trainer and Coach  (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

In addition, the training workshop allowed participants to better understand the methods for constructing the hypotheses of their investigative journalistic work, and to obtain more technical advice from the trainers and coachers, Hanene Zbiss from Tunisia and Anass Bendrif from Morocco. 

The training was also an opportunity to recall and discuss the ethical rules in journalism, and especially the exceptions allowed in matters of investigation. In addition, advice was given to them regarding their professional security and the protection of their sources. 

Anass Bendrif and Hanene Zbiss, Trainers and Coaches (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

The last day of the training workshop was devoted to discussing their future subjects for investigation. The participants will work on their individual stories with coaching until the end of the year, when they will hopefully meet for a closing  ceremony.   

Categories
Climate change Students

Special lecture on climate change for students at Dhaka University

By: Mofizur Rhaman

Veteran Norwegian scholar & writer Professor Elisabeth Eide has delivered a special lecture to the class of Master of Social Science students enrolled for climate and environment journalism at the Department of Mass Communication & Journalism of the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The lecture was held on online platform Zoom on Thursday 18th August, 2022.  

During the lecture with Professor Dr. Maksudur Rahman. PHOTO: Mofizur Rhaman and Tamara Yeasmin.

Dr. Eide shared her experiences of working as an advocate of climate justice in different region of the world including South Asia and Bangladesh. She focused on climate crisis & possible journalistic interventions with a broad spectrum from gender to political issues. Eide explained how climate journalism should be different from traditional event-based journalism and suggested to focus on finding the root causes of the crisis. 

Dr. Eide suggested the future journalists to work as an educator and should practice solution oriented journalism in the climate change field. She recommended youth activists to raise their voice in order to solve threatening environmental & climate issues as the younger generation are the most vulnerable one. 

Professor Dr. Maksudur Rahman from the department of geography and environment. PHOTO: Mofizur Rhaman and Tamara Yeasmin.

One of the lecture participants Mukul Morshed said, ‘I think the recent devastating floods the country has witnessed was relevant to the discussion. What I liked most about the lecture is the fact how journalism was annexed with science particularly climate science to put some light on the issue.’ 

‘The aspect of the lecture that interested me the most was the gender aspect of the climate crisis. I never thought how worldwide it is men who are more responsible for creating the crisis and the women bear the brunt more than men,’ said Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy. 

Atiqur Rahman said he liked Eide’s bottom-up approach to the crisis as journalistic intervention. He said, ‘I doubt how much benefits will come by the initiatives taken by developed countries. Steps should be firmly taken by developing countries as well’. 

Another student Safaet Hossain said, ‘the lecture was so engaging and enlightening that made me understand my role & responsibilities  as a citizen in the fight against climate crisis.’ 

Dr. Elisabeth Eide is a Professor of journalism studies at Oslo Metropolitan University and former Director of Journalism & Media International Center (JMIC). She is also author & editor of a substantial number of books, chapters and scientific journal articles relating to climate change journalism and media studies. She is also a novelist. 

Dr. Mofizur Rhaman, course teacher of Climate & Environment Journalism and former chairperson of Department of Mass Communication & Journalism of the University of Dhaka moderated the zoom session.  

The students studying climate change. PHOTO: Mofizur Rhaman and Tamara Yeasmin.

The class includes Fahima Mahjabin, Sultana Razia Hoque, Abdul Malek, Tasnova Arefin, Muntasir Jihad, Mizanur Rahman, Tamara Yeasmin, Atiqur Rahman, Jihadul islam, Nurruzzaman, Jahid Hasan, Farzib Mahmud, Umme Kulsum, Rafia Tamanna, Aliur Rahman, Mukti Rashid Khan, Mukul Murshed, Monowar Hossain, Nadia Akter and Foyz Ahmed. 

Categories
Students Webinar

Ugandan students trained in Access to Information

Students have learned how to access information. PHOTO: Melanie Joyce.

By: Gerald Walulya

The Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University conducted a four day webinar on Access to information 15-18 August 2022. The webinar that was attended by 45 final year journalism students was supported by JMIC. 

While speaking at the opening of the webinar on Monday 15 August 2022, the Head of Department, Dr. Nakiwala Aisha Sembatya, noted that Access to Information is important because everything done in the field of journalism and communication rotates around information. “Access to information is important because information is the key ingredient of all the things that you are going to be doing. If you do not have access to information it means you will not be able to do the business we have trained you to do properly”, she said. 

Dr. Nakiwala said that trainings of this nature help to equip students to overcome barriers of accessing information. “We all know that the issue of access to information is a very critical one but is also very contentious because there are parties out there who may not want to make access to information as easy as we want to assume it should be. Trainings of this kind make you understand how to go about issues of access to information.” Dr. Nakiwala said. She commended JMIC for supporting Makerere University to offer these trainings. 

Dr. Ivan Lukanda instructing the last session. PHOTO: Melanie Joyce.

The webinar was facilitated by both local and international facilitators. Mr. Toby Mendel, the Executive Director of the Canada based Centre for Law and Democracy discussed the Global trends in access to information. Mr. Edwine Wanyama, the Legal Officer from The Collaboration of International ICT policy in East and Southern Africa discussed a local perspective on Access to Information laws in Uganda.  

Gilbert Sendugwa in Africa Freedom of Information Centre. PHOTO: Melanie Joyce.

Mr. Tarjei Leer-Salvesen, a Norwegian freelance journalist taught participants digital skills for accessing information. He demonstrated to participants how one can access information using online tools. Dr. Ivan Lukanda, a Lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University, took participants through procedures of accessing information in Uganda, using the Access to Information Act. At the end of the last session, participants were given application forms to go and make information requests in public institutions so that they can test the skills they acquired.  

Categories
Press freedom Students

Norwegians and Palestinians studied press freedom together 

By Emily Solem-Young 

In May, Norwegian and Palestinian students collaborated at OsloMet, investigating the conditions of press freedom in seven countries  

The Norwegian and Palestinian students worked together in small groups (Photo: Emily Solem-Young). 

The Rig on press freedom is a journalistic end-of-year-project that has been an annual happening for the first year journalism students at OsloMet for more than a decade. 

Professor Elsebeth Frey and her colleague Mathias Falch have arranged the same project at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine in 2017 and 2019, and in May this year, Palestinians that participated in these workshops joined the Norwegian students during the Rig. 

Farid Abudheir, Assistant Professor, Communication & Digital Media, An-Najah National University in Nablus in Palestine (Photo Oona Solberg) .

The Norwegians and Palestinians worked together in small groups with interpreters, writing news stories about the press freedom in Tanzania, Lebanon, Tunisia, South Africa, Austria, Spain, and the Czech Republic. 

This is the first time OsloMet receives student visits from abroad during the Rig. 

Marie Lauvdal collaborated with Reem Maree on an article about freelancers in Lebanon. 

Reem Maree and Marie Lauvdal collaborated during the Rig (Photo Emily Solem-Young).

– It helped a lot when we were interviewing sources from Lebanon since Reem spoke Arabic. She also helped me translate various websites and videos, Lauvdal said. 

Aziza Jaljouy worked with the Tanzania group. 

– It makes you think about how different press freedom is in different countries, she said. 

The Palestinian students enjoying the Norwegian spring after school (Photo Private).

Read more about the Palestinians experience of the Rig: 

https://eco.najah.edu/en/news/2022/06/students-and-graduates-department-communication-digital-media-najah-national-university-complete-training-session-entitled-rig-press-freedom-oslomet-university-norway/ 
(by Aziza Jaljouy) 

Read more about the cooperation and read all the news stories on Journalen (in Norwegian): 

https://journalen.oslomet.no/2022/05/samarbeider-om-pressefrihet 
(by Emily Solem-Young) 

Categories
Photo journalism Students

Nepal by 6 young photographers 

By Sagar Chhetri

The final showcase of 6 photo stories by 6 Nepali photographers at the international storytelling workshop this year took place in The Yellow House in Sanepa outside Kathmandu 22 April 2022.  

The event was hosted to showcase that the talented 6  Nepali photographers had given their heart and soul to bring out important stories from Nepal, the organizer photo.circle reported.  

This years participants – 6 visual storytellers from Nepal.

The participants were Priyanka Tulachan, Samagra Shah, Tulsi Rauniyar, Bijayabar Pradhan, Sonam Choekyi Lama and Rojan Shrestha.  

It was a special night, after a long time we hosted a public showcase and the audience turnout made it a successful event, according to the organizer: We were even lucky to have Shahidul Alam and Tanvi Misra in the audienceTheir presence was encouraging and made the evening a memorable one

Shahidul Alam, Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2018.

Alam is the founder of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute and a Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2018. Misra works with images as a photo editor, curator and writer based in New Delhi in India. 

The audience made the evening a memorable one.

Photo.circle is a platform for photographers and the art community in Kathmandu, Nepal. The first direct cooperation with OsloMet and Pathshala was in 2010 and 2012. Since 2018, young photographer/photojournalists from Nepal have participated in the workshops in China and last year in Nepal. Photo.circle is the key organizer of the Photo Kathmandu festival in Nepal.

https://www.photocircle.com.np/

https://www.instagram.com/photocircle_np/

All photos by photo.circle.

Categories
Climate change Workshop

Workshop on Climate Journalism Education 

By Syed M. Saqib Saleem   

The Faculty of Humanities, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), in collaboration with JMIC, hosted a one-day workshop on Climate Journalism Education 1st June 2022.  

The workshop was attended by academicians, postgraduate students and journalists joining in from all over Pakistan and abroad.  

Group photo of the climate journalism education workshop (Photo: Media Center, FCCU).

It discussed ways of teaching climate journalism and helped provide ideas for training journalism students through the collective effort of academicians and journalists who have worked in the field and are aware of the climate crisis.  

Dr. Altaf Ullah Khan, Dean of Humanities at FCCU, inaugurated the workshop and gave a keynote speech in which he stated, “If we, as academicians, have a good understanding of climate crisis, only then we will be able to train our students in the best possible way on its journalistic perspective as well. Since climate change is both our present and our future.” 

Dr Altaf Ullah Khan delivers his keynote speech at the workshop inauguration ceremony (Photo: Media Center, FCCU).

The workshop was moderated by Rachel Hasan, Chairperson Department of Mass Communication. Dr Elisabeth Eide, Co-Director Media Climate Network and Professor of Journalism from OsloMet, gave a brief introduction of the workshop and gave the floor to Dr Derk Bakker, Associate Professor and Chairperson of Department of Environmental Sciences, FCCU. He highlighted the impacts and solutions for climate change.  

Dr Derk Bakker pinpoints impacts and solutions of climate change (Photo: Media Center, FCCU).

Dr Elisabeth Eide later built up on his speech and shared why climate change is a concern for journalists and journalism students. She shared the models for education on climate journalism and stated: “It is crucial to combine studies with field visits for students as well and help them learn from local experts and indigenous people.” 

Moreover, Hannah Bernstein, science journalist and project manager at Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, along with Syed Abubakar, Environment journalist and media trainer, and Syed M. Saqib, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, FCCU, further discussed ways to train students to cover climate stories and what can be included in the courses to enhance future journalists’ capacity to report on climate. They were of the view that it is high time, climate journalism was integrated into the curriculum for journalism students in Pakistan. 

Finally, Muhammad Daud Khan and Stella Paul, the two famous climate journalists working in the field and setting a precedent for others to follow, joined the workshop and shared that: “As journalists, we are storytellers and are also the mediators between people at the frontline of climate crisis and masses. So, we have to be the ones to tell the missing stories to the world.” 

The workshop was concluded with some final remarks by Dr Elisabeth Eide and Oona Solberg. Dr Douglas Trimble, Vice-Rector, FCCU, was also present at the occasion and gave his concluding speech. After that, certificates were distributed among the participants.  

Overall, the training was informative and valuable for participants and encouraged them to become change makers within their institutions and support the efforts to introduce climate journalism education courses for journalism students in Pakistan.  

Categories
Book Launch Exhibition Photo journalism Students

Exhibition opening and book launch 

By Jon Petter Evensen 

This years International Storytelling Program with 20 photojournalist students from Nepal, Bangladesh and Norway has come to an end with the opening of the outdoor exhibition at and book launch at OsloMet campus Wednesday 25 May. 

From the exhibition at OsloMet. (Photo: Jon Petter Evensen)

This year the program was further developed with national book editing and design workshops in Nepal and Bangladesh. All three editions of the book titled “A State of Flux”” was for sale together with postcards from the projects.  

The students Hanna Johre and Live Austgard gave speeches and introduced the cooperation and the projects. 

Student Hanna Johre introducing the projects to the audience. (Photo: Jon Petter Evensen)

Check the stories here: https://www.flux2022.com 

The book is also for sale on the webpage.  

Video from the opening:  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tv/Cd-wbTQqomC/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link