Voices about the pandemic from Asia and Africa

The journalist Jocylynne Nakibuule was interviewed by her colleague Eunice Kasirye from Uganda for the podcast Insight Talk.  

This is a collaborative podcast made by and about female journalists on the rise of security concerns in times of COVID, sharing insights about the challenges and breakthroughs while covering the pandemic.  

Jocylynne Nakibuule with her child in the studio in Uganda (Photo: Eunice Kasirye)

The podcast was one of four made by members of International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), coordinated by the Long Documentary and Mentoring Committees and financed by JMIC´s flexible fund. 

Four women from four different countries made their first podcast on a chosen topic, while receiving mentoring from other members.  

The podcasts were made from India, Pakistan and Kenya in addition to Uganda – and can be listened to here:


Silence is killing us

In an interview with Violet Gonda Afghan journalist and media leader Najiba Ayubi says the silence of the world is killing the people of Afghanistan, especially women and female journalists.  

Najiba Ayubi is a leading Afghan media personality and one of the Information Heroes by Reporters Without Borders.  

She narrates the evacuation ordeal to Germany and USA with her family after the fall of the country to the Taliban 15 August.  

The interview was done in December after she was settled in USA, but published 3 February in the programme Hot Seat by Violet Gonda.

Gonda is an award winning journalist and President of President: International Association of Women in Radio & Television [IAWRT]

IAWRT has been trying to assist its members to be evacuated from Afghanistan after they received death threats from the Taliban. Najiba Ayubi is the chapter head of IAWRT Afghanistan.  

Cairo Media Conference 3: A success

VIDEO by: Ahmed Montasser

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt partnered once again with OsloMet to host a two-day conference to bring together journalism and media professionals, students, and academics – ranging from decision-makers and editors to social media influencers – to discuss and explore solutions to ever-changing realities they face. 

The Cairo Media Conference 3 held December 6 – 7, 2021 explored ways to address these disruptions, challenges, best practices, and innovation in the aftermath of an extraordinary time. The theme of the conference “The reconstruction of journalism in the age of entertainment and uncertainty” allowed for a diverse number of speakers to share and discuss issues of common concern and mutual exchange with the participants of the conference whether it was related to the effects of audience flight or the arrival of artificial intelligence. 

Organized by Naila Hamdy, the panels and keynotes included Hildegunn Soldal, head of the Digital Department at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and Kristoffer Egeberg editor-in-chief of Faktisk, an independent Fact-checking platform, Abeer Saady, former Egyptian press syndicate member and prominent journalist and current media development expert, and researcher at Dortmund University, Gisselle Khoury, the eminent host of an interview-style regional TV show, and Ehab El-Zelaki editor-in-chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm, among others.  

Following the success of the conference, The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication Department at AUC looks forward to the fourth edition of the Cairo Media Conference.   

Dr. Naila Hamdy, Associate Professor of Journalism at AUC, highlights the partnership between the American University in Cairo, Egypt and OsloMet that seeks to raise the level of collaboration between the two institutions.   

Video by Ahmed Montasser

Identifying a partner that has a common vision when it comes to journalism, media and media education is exceptionally gratifying. After several years of cooperation, I look forward to more advances in our efforts to contribute to the global conversation on the future of journalism and help enable professionals, educators and students to embrace the unknown, harness the shifts and seize opportunities at these times of uncertainty.”  

Safety Handbook to Palestinians

The Arabic translation of the safety handbook for women journalists “What if…?” is being distributed to students of journalism at An-Najah National University in Nablus and other universities in the West Bank in the beginning of January 2022.  

The safety handbook has been distributed in Palestine.

The book is written by JMIC trainer Abeer Saady for International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) and supported UNESCO and Norwegian Union of Journalists and others.  

After the Rig on press freedom – a cooperation project with JMIC/OsloMet – 42 students of journalism at An-Najah University made an excursion to Ramallah. They visited several institutions and handed over the recently printed version of the safety handbook in Arabic. 

The students visiting media institutions in Ramallah.

The first stop was The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) – an institution training media students – and met with its director, Hania Al-Bitar, and staff working in the media field.  

They also met with the representative of the Coalition for Accountability and Transparency (AMAN), Jihad Harb. AMAN cooperates with media faculties at the Palestinian universities to develop and train students on investigative reporting.  

Then the participants visited the Palestinian Radio and Television Corporation (PBC), where they met with a number of officials who briefed them on the departments of the institution and the stages of media work in it.  

Visiting Palestinian Radio and Television Corporation (PBC).

The tour concluded with a visit to Wafa News Agency, where Kholoud Assaf, the editing manager, gave a detailed presentation about the agency, its development and its role in the Arab and international media arena.  

At Wafa News Agency.

These visits included discussions between the students and officials on press freedom and the challenges it faces in the Palestinian reality. 80 copies of the safety book was also given to the Women Studies Center,  which trains female journalists on media and gender (among other topics relevant to gender).

Ruben André Johansen, Second Secretary at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority, with Farid Abudheir, who responsible for the project in Palestine. 

PHOTOS by students mobiles.

The Rig on Press Freedom: A training workshop

By: Rasem Dwikat  

Department of Communication & Digital Media at An-Najah National University (NNU) concluded the five day workshop The Rig on press freedom in the Arab world Thursday 6 January 2022.   

The students with their certificates.

The workshop was organized in cooperation between NNU and OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. The implementation was supervised by the teachers Farid Abudheir, Dalal Radwan, Ibrahim Okkeh, and Ayman Al-Masry.   

42 students from the Department of Communication & Digital Media and the Department of Radio & TV participated in the workshop. This workshop comes within the framework of cooperation between the two universities in the field of media and communication, which dates back to 1999.  

Students with some of their teachers.

The workshop aims, according to the workshop coordinator, Farid Abudheir, to raise the level of knowledge and awareness of media students about the concept of press freedom and its reality in the world in general, and in the Arab world in particular, where students work over five days to research issues of violations against media and journalists in various Arab countries. Abudheir adds that the workshop also aims to strengthen the concepts of media ethics among the journalism students, the most important of which are: Obtaining firsthand information from sources, verifying the validity of information, in addition to making balance in building news stories, as well as using data journalism tools in searching for information, filtering and using it in media materials in the framework of credibility, accuracy and fairness.  

Students waiting in the sun.

This workshop is distinguished in its topic and implementation mechanism. The Rig on press freedom was invented by Professor Elisabeth Frey from OsloMet, who participated in implementing it at NNU in 2017 and 2019, while she was unable to participate in the workshop this year with her colleague Mathias Falch due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The distinction of this training workshop lies in the fact that it is based on mechanisms of taking students from theoretical academic education to practice outside the class, transferring the student from the limited local field to the wide global arena, as well as moving the student to the digital space and employing modern techniques in building the journalistic story.  

At the closing session of the workshop, Farid Abudheir, thanked everybody at NNU and OsloMet contributing to the success of the workshop. He also thanked Ruben André Johansen, Second Secretary at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority, for attending the ceremony and participating in honouring the students.   

Students presenting their work.

Ruben André Johansen said that the declining state of press freedom in the world requires strong, principled and experienced journalists. He added that the independent press is one of the most important elements in a democratic society, which is why Norway supports projects that focus on press freedom, including the Rig on press freedom workshop at NNU. He thanked the organizers of the workshop for inviting him to attend the closing session of the workshop, and congratulated the teachers, professors and students on the successful completion of the workshop.  

Mr. Raed Al-Dabai, the NNU President’s Assistant, emphasized that freedom is a great value, and that media freedom is an essential component of the values for development and progress, and that NNU appreciates the idea of the project and the value it defends, which is the freedom of the press. Al-Dubai thanked the partners in Norway and OsloMet University for their efforts in making these projects a success, looking forward to more cooperation and achievements in the coming days.  

Roaa Al-Khuffash, who spoke on behalf of the students, expressed her and her colleagues’ happiness with the Rig and its successful completion. Al-Khuffash added that the value of the Rig lies in taking student away from the usual stereotypical style of teaching, since it broadens the students’ perceptions of press freedom in the Arab world, integrating students in media field work, and makes the student bear the responsibility of the information s/he transmits in his reports.  

 Israa Subuh with Ruben André Johansen, Second Secretary at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority.

It is noteworthy that the presentations of the students’ achievements before the concluding paragraph included a brief by each student’s about the story he/she worked on during the Rig, its importance, the methods he/she used in building the story, and the challenges he/she faced. This was followed by an evaluation; a discussion of the students’ performance.  

Certificates issued by OsloMet and NNU were distributed to the participating students. The final outcome of the Rig will be the publication of all stories in a newspaper soon after the Rig.

(PHOTOS by students’ mobiles.)   

Global news stream on social media

In October, journalism students from seven different countries collaborated on publishing news stories on environmental issues.  

By: Mathias Falch

The project was called Global news stream on social media, and a total of 140 students from Independent University Bangladesh, Universidad de Costa Rica, Nepal Open University, OsloMet (Norway), An-Najah National University (Palestine), Université de la Manouba (Tunisia) and Makerere University (Uganda) participated. 

From one of the news stories from Independent University Bangladesh – by Nazmul Hossen Tuhin and Fahmida Binta Azad.

All the news stories dealt with climate and environmental problems in the respective countries, and they had to be grouped into one of the following sub-categories: 

(water/wastewater/flooding/hydropower/fishing practices/melting glaciers) 

Waste and pollution 
(mining/coal run-off/industrialization/air pollution/trash/waste management/recycling)


Into the future 
(urban living/public health/migration/clean energy/recycling) 

From Rose Namusobya’s news story on the way to a plastics-free Kampala, Uganda. 

On Tuesday October 26th, the easternmost universities started to publish their stories on the project’s Facebook page. The rest of the students joined the publishing when the sun rose in their countries. 

The students were encouraged to present their news stories in social media-friendly formats, and a lot of them experimented with both videos, infographics, and photographs. 

A total of 83 news stories were published, and they can be found on this Facebook-page (will open in a new window).

By joining the project, the students learned a lot about the climate crisis, a topic that will dominate the news in many years to come. As one Tunisian student pointed out, this project allowed her to think about the real threat that the world is facing. The students liked that the project was global and having an international audience. The global aspect helped them to expand their environmental understanding and how these issues can be incorporated in news stories.  

The participants said that they gained important insight on how both their own and other countries are dealing with the ongoing climate changes, and that they found it inspiring to see how aspiring journalists from other countries write and present their news. “Since all posts were posted simultaneously and from the same account, it really felt as a collaborative project between different universities around the world” – as a student from Costa Rica wrote. 

The students made useful international contacts, and hopefully, some of their paths will cross again in the future. 

The planning of the project was done online.

The head coordinator of the project was Mathias Falch from OsloMet. He was joined by OsloMet-colleagues Elsebeth Frey, who initiated the project, and Ashley Riddell, as well as local coordinators Any Pérez (Costa Rica), Arwa Kooli (Tunisia), Charlotte Ntulume (Uganda), Samiksha Koirala (Nepal), Farid Abudheir (Palestine) and Zakir Hossain Raju (Bangladesh). 

Awards to North African journalists for stories on COVID

During a closing ceremony in Tunis 20 December the jury gave a first award to Hiba Hmidi, a Tunisian journalist, for her work on Covid-19 virus medical waste. 

She has been part of the project on “Supporting the right to information and investigative journalism while fighting Covid-19 in the Maghreb region” since April – a cooperation between Article 19 MENA (Middle East and North Africa), Institute of Press and Information Sciences (IPSI) and JMIC running for several years.  

Hiba Hmidi won the first prize (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

The second award was received by Majda Ayet Lakteoui, a Moroccan journalist. She worked on the shortage in the number of doctors and nurses, exacerbated by the pandemic, as relatives of those infected with Covid-19 are working to care for the injured instead of the medical staff. This has contributed to the deterioration of the situation of patients and the transmission of the virus, her work shows.  

Second prize winner Majda Ayet Lakteoui (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

During the awards ceremony the trainee journalists – who were present online and offline –  presented their work and their journey within the program during the production phase and highlighted the challenges and lessons learned from their perspectives.  

The event was in a hybrid format, its first part was a round table discussion focused on the future of investigative journalism in the Maghreb region. This roundtable brought together experienced investigative journalists from Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and experts in access to information.  

From right: Hanen Zbiss, Walid Mejri and Khaoula Boukrim, both Tunisian investigative journalists, Rafik Ben Abdallah, a representative from the Access to information oversight body in Tunisia and Anass Bendhrif – Hanene and Anass have trained and  coached the participants (Photo: Article 19 MENA).

They discussed the challenges that investigative journalism has been facing in the Maghreb region, the reasons for these challenges, how they can be overcome, how to put the access to information laws at the service of the development of investigative journalism and how the investigative journalism can contribute to enhance the implementation of the access to information law. 

The participants after the discussion and awards ceremony (Photo: Article 19 MENA).