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.”
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.
The commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day was supported by the Journalism & Media International Centre of Oslo Metropolitan University.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Video report on workshop on Digital Security in Hostile Environments with Strong Media Systems (Media center FCCU): https://youtu.be/zqdK4brhHdk
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.”
The webinar is a cooperation between International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) and JMIC.
The speakers include Inna Berezkina, School of Civic Education in Russia, Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Hrybenko, Kreshma Fakhri and Najiba Ayubi from IAWRT Afghanistan and Birgitte Jallov from IAWRT Denmark.
Therese San Diego will present experiences from a digital safe house in the Philippines by IAWRT, to be followed by Raiza Quallateon Mwawanga from IAWRT Tanzania, Naila Hamdy, from The American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt, Rand Sabbagh from the Syrian Female Journalists Network (SFJN), Sonali Dhawan from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)and Nabeelah Shabbir from International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).
The webinar is a follow up from last year’s event on new research on media and gender, when a special issue of journalism education on gender and media was launched. This year we want to focus on the experiences with the Digital Safe House (DSH) in the Philippines to see which experiences can be relevant in other parts of the world – and of course look at challenges to the safety of women journalists in the light of the war on Ukraine.
The Africa chapters of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) are building a continental Action Plan against online harassment of women journalists within and beyond Africa.
The Action Plan build up kick started with an engagement of over 260 female journalists from at least eleven countries in Africa and beyond came together 20 November 2021 to discuss the true face of online harassment against women journalists.
Some of the report findings put it that online attacks against women journalists have political motives. Political actors, extremist networks and partisan media as instigators and amplifiers of online violence against women journalists.
The first engagement was held under the theme, African Women Journalists Navigating Digital Safety under the moderation of IAWRT Secretary Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye who challenged the participants to be deliberate and intentional in identifying the different forms of online harassment, be able to isolate such incidences for pro-active solutions to protect the victims as well as putting to book the perpetrators of harassment.
Violet Gonda, the President of IAWRT, encouraged participants to share and learn from each other the different manifestations of violence and harassment both online and offline expressing optimism of devising defensive mechanisms and protection against all forms of harassment through working together with different partners and associates
Lydia Gachungi, the Regional Expert for Safety of Journalists and Media Development at UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, explored the findings of the UNESCO’s report challenging IAWRT through her networks to ensure the silent oppressed voices are truly represented beyond the boardrooms and efforts stretch up to rural and upcountry stakeholders.
Grace Githiaga, an online safety and tools expert from IAWRT Kenya, challenged women journalists to take personal responsibility and take caution while using online spaces.
Rose Mwalimu, a senior IAWRT member also an expert on media and gender issues. explored the gravity of violence offline that eventually manifests into the digital online spaces.
IAWRT members from Tanzania, Cameroon and Uganda shared their personal experience in the face of online and offline violence and harassment while in their line of duty.
The engagement attracted participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique and USA.
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 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 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.
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.
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).