The 39th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) took place from 18 to 20November 2022, hosted by the chapter in Tanzania. Delegates from all chapters worldwide met in Zanzibar under the headline Gendered Media Perspectives: Conflict, Covid and Climate Change.
The main plenary on the first day was Afghanistan after Taliban: Status of Women Journalists. The testimonies came from members of IAWRT Afghanistan in exile and online, Najiba Ayubi, Kreshma Fakhri, Somaia Walizadeh – and Abdul Basir Quraishi.
Reena Mohan from India and Elisabeth Eide from JMIC (online) also shared their experiences about the status of the Afghan journalists after Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. Sharmini Boyle of Internews Pakistan was also present online, and the book “Lives, Jobs, Homeland:Afghan Women Journalists Lose All” was launched.
Digital Safe House (DSH)for journalists at riskwas the focus of another session. Speakers were Colette Simonne Heefner of International Media Support (IMS), Oona Solberg of JMIC and Sue Onslow of Institute of Commonwealth Studies. Therese Patricia San Diego Torres told about the experiences of the pilot project DSH in the Philippines and Birgitte Jallov presented DSH Moldova. Also Greta Gober spoke; as the one who came up with the idea of a DSH originally.
Countdown to Climate Change was the title of another plenary discussion moderated by Michelle Ferrier, the new international president. JMICs Elisabeth Eide also participated online in this panel together with Lia Torres fromCenter for Environmental Concerns in the Philippines, Becky Bisong from Cameroon and Monica Magoke Mhoja and Maria Matui from Tanzania.
The outgoing IAWRT president and treasurer, Violet Gonda and Jola Diones-Mamangun presented their reports in the final session. Chapter reports from Afghanistan, Cameroon, India, Iraq-Kurdistan, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, Moldova, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, USA and the new IAWRT chapter in Sierra Leone followed. Different committees also shared their reports. The turned-over ceremony of the new IAWRT International Board was also one of the highlights of the conference.
The Department of Communication & Digital Media at An-Najah National University in Nablus in Palestine organized “Access to Information“ Conference at the University on Monday 7 November 2022 in cooperation with JMIC.
This is the Fourth time The Department Organizes a Conference on Access to Information at their University in commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information declared by UNESCO in 2016.
The conference was attended by Mr. Nasser Abu Bakr, president of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Mr. Nasser Jawabreh, Director of Ministry of Information Office in Nablus and Mr. Ruben André Johansen, First Secretary of Political Affairs at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority.
Professors and students from Birzeit University, Palestine Technical University (Khadoori), Hebron University, Arab American University, as well as a number of Palestinian Journalists participated.
The participants called for the adoption of Access to Information law in Palestine, as it is a legal guarantee to protect the citizens’ right to knowledge, and the right of a journalist to obtain the information needed to develop democratic participation and achieve sustainable development in society.
The conferees also called for the development of effective mechanisms to spread the culture of access to, and use of, information, and the removal of all obstacles that prevent citizens from knowing what is happening and what decisions are being made regarding public affairs.
Besides, conferees warned that the blocking of information opens the way for the spread of rumours and hate speech. It also destroys one of the important bases in building a democratic society that protects human rights and establishes the principles of transparency and integrity in society.
Ms. Muna Hawash, Head of Communication & Digital Media & Radio and Television Departments, opened the conference by stressing the importance of Access to Information, considering that information is the basic element for a journalist. She considered that this principle is the cornerstone of journalism, and that the citizens’ right to know is a human, moral and legal right.
Dr. Farid Abu Dheir, coordinator of joint projects with JMIC/OsloMet, highlighted the cooperation, which extends to 23 years. He praised the activities and events that were carried out during those years and the benefit that was reflected on the participating students.
Dr. Abu Dheir explained that the conference aims to integrate the concept of Access to Information in media materials and school curricula, and to seek the adoption of an exclusive law that protects the citizens’ right to knowledge.
Nasser Abu Bakr, president of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, emphasized that the syndicate exerts all efforts to ease the work of journalists and guarantee their right of Access to Information. He pointed to the challenges imposed by the Israeli Occupation on journalists, especially preventing them from covering events and violating journalists’ rights to cover events, in order to block Palestinians Access to Information.
Nasser Jawabreh, Director of Ministry of Information office in Nablus, explained that the Israeli Occupation is the biggest challenge for Palestinian journalists, making Access to Information an arduous issue.
For his part, Mr. Johansen at Norwegian Representative Office, expressed his gratitude for participating in the conference at An-Najah University in Nablus which witnessed harmful Israeli restrictions on the movement of the population, as today’s talk is about human rights, including freedom of movement.
Mr. Johansen stressed that the Norwegian government is proud to support the cooperation between An-Najah National University and Oslo Metropolitan University. He also mentioned that Access to Information is the key to the improvement of human rights globally.
He pointed out that although all countries of the world pledge the citizens’ right to access information, many countries impose laws restricting this right. In addition, he stressed the importance of Access to Information in avoiding false information to which journalists are vulnerable. He also mentioned the protests taking place in Iran to activate this right.
Mr. Ruben concluded his speech with stressing on the importance of human rights in light of the Israeli occupation attacks, and praised 7amleh Foundation, which tirelessly works to preserve human rights. “I am sure that this conference will succeed,” he said.
In the second session of the conference, Dr. Saeed Shaheen, Head of Media Department at Hebron University, Dr. Islam Halayqa, Lecturer at the Department of Radio and TV at An-Najah National University, Mr. Emad Al-Asfar, Director of Media Development Center at Birzeit University, Ms. Kholoud Assaf, News Editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Wafa News Agency and Mr. Mohammed Daraghmeh, Correspondent of Elsharq TV, made presentation on experiences regarding Access to Information in Palestine.
The speakers stressed the importance of Access to Information as the main pillar of media work, and an urgent need for citizens in their private and public life. The participants called for not succumbing to the information-blocking policies imposed by governments and public and private institutions, and the need to seek information. Mr. Emad Al-Asfar pointed out that the existence of investigative journalism in developed countries proves that withholding information is a practice that is carried out in all countries of the world, including the Western world.
The third session was dedicated to young media students at An-Najah, Birzeit, Palestine Technical University (Khadoori) and Hebron universities. The session was moderated by Laith Hasson and Dana Al-Saifi from the Department of Communication & Digital Media at An-Najah National University. As the above mentioned universities were represented by Roaa Khuffash, Loard Hadeed, Dareen Hamd, and Raed Al-Sharif respectively.
The participants stressed the importance of Access to Information for young journalists and the need to remove all obstacles to the journalist’s work that prevent them from doing their job professionally and effectively.
The Chief Executive of Journalism & Media International Centre, Oona Solberg last week held a productive engagement with representatives of the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University in Uganda.
The two representatives included, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala Sembatya, the Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication and Dr. Gerald Walulya, the coordinator of JMIC activities in Uganda and a Lecturer at the same institution.
The two were in Oslo to participate in the 8th International Conference on Safety and Security of Journalists that is celebrated every at Oslomet in commemoration of the International Day to end impunity for crimes committed against journalists.
The discussions focused on the evaluation of the five activities JMIC and the Department of Journalism and Communication have implemented in Uganda this year and plans for the next year.
These activities included two trainings; one focusing on the safety and security of journalists and the other focusing on Access to Information. The other activities included organising a Rig on Press freedom and the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day on May 5 and the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on September 28.
Dr. Nakiwala commended the support that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given to her Department through JMIC. She said that her university remains committed to working with JMIC and Oslomet to further improve the skills and knowledge of journalists and journalism students in Uganda.
JIMC Chief Executive, Oona Solberg commended the team from Makerere University for the effective utilisation of the support they receive from JMIC.
Since 2017, JMIC has been working with the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University in Uganda, to train journalists and journalism students in key emerging journalism challenges such as safety and security of Journalists and Access to Information.
The cooperation between the two institutions has also focused on raising awareness on matters of press freedom and human rights through commemoration of important days such as the World Press Freedom Day and the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
This “Conference of the parties” (COP) will gather important political leaders, experts, bureaucrats, civil society representatives – young ones also – and media people. https://cop27.eg/#/
The American University in Cairo (AUC) established a Climate Change Initiative in response to the global climate change challenges and the active role academic and research institutions should play in addressing them.
This initiative is university wide and includes research, teaching, student activities and public outreach. The areas of focus are aligned national and regional climate change and sustainability priorities. Areas of research and outreach include water scarcity, urban development, green finance, public health, energy transition and climate crisis communication. https://www.aucegypt.edu/climate-change
The 4 Cairo Media Conference took place 23 – 24 October 2022 under the headline Communicating Climate Change: Is the Climate Crisis also a Communication Crisis?
More than 200 participants came for the conference, also from other universities and from different parts of the country. Two days were packed with a very relevant program, many inspiring speakers and an engaged and active audience. Many prominent Egyptian media personalities shared their ideas.
To tell about the climate crisis in their countries, guests were also coming from as far as Bangladesh and Pakistan, but also from the region – Kurdistan in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia: Mofizur Rhaman, Syed M. Saqib, Awaz Abdalla, Bissan Tay, Tarek Saed and Hanene Zbiss.
Special guests from Norway were Arne Jensen from the Association of Norwegian Editors, Hildegunn Soldal from the Norwegian Broadcasting Coroporation and the freelance journalist Tarjei Leer-Salvesen, who is an expert in access to information regarding environmental issues. Elisabeth Eide and Risto Kunelius from the MediaClimate network contributed digitally.
According to the organizers is the main goal of the conference to plant a seed of knowledge amongst media people; professionals, faculty members and students; on the importance of giving media coverage and understanding to such a vital issue in order to reach out.
Dr. Naila Hamdy, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, The American University in Cairo in Egypt delivered an inspiring closing speech for the conference. Some of her valuable closing remarks include:
– The need for an access to information law should be revived.
– The narrative of the ordinary person was highlighted by most of the conferences’ speakers. Storytelling should resonate with the public.
– Fact checking came up as an important part of what journalists and educators should emphasize.
– Resources and toolkits on a global exist and should be used to tell a climate change story.
– Training and education for academics, journalists and the future journalists was highly stressed in the conference.
– Global justice while reporting about the climate crisis was a very important takeout.
– Addressing the scientific community to collect information about climate change is crucial. But also training them to give their messages in understandable manner is important.
– Providing hope is essential when you communicate the crisis and its consequences.
– There is a need to act and embed climate change in the academic curriculums.
– The connection between gender inequalities and climate change is not to be dismissed.
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.
“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.”