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access to information Conference Students

The Legal Protection of Citizens’ Right of Knowledge  

By: Farid Abu Dheir

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. 

Many of the participants. (Photo: Aseel Kilani)

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.  

Farid Abu Dheir to the left. (Photo: Aseel Kilani)

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.  

Ruben André Johansen, First Secretary of Political Affairs at the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority. (Photo: Aseel Kilani)  

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. 

 Many of the participants. (Photo: Aseel Kilani) 

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 students had their own session. (Photo: Aseel Kilani)

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.  

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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.”  

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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. 

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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.  

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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) 

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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.

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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 

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Students

Youth Speak Up on Philippine Elections

By: IAWRT Philippines  

An online event before the presidential elections in the Philippines 9 May showcased the youth’s views about the elections and their criteria for selection of candidates.  

Speakers, moderators and Zoom staff. (Photo: IAWRT Philippines).

International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Philippines gathered student leaders and communications students from various schools in the country with support from JMIC 28 March.    

The two-hour online event “Media, Youth, and the Elections – May Alam at May Pakialam:”  

was carried via Zoom and Facebook live. Excluding the speakers and moderators, a total of 203 inviduals was in the Zoom meeting room.  Meanwhile, the Facebook livestream on IAWRT’s page was cross-posted by Kodao Productions on their page and garnered 742 views since its publication.  

The event drew the participation of women speakers  from five schools, namely: Athina Bayles of Wesleyan University, Chantelle Palloran  of Miriam College, Marvilyn Medrano of  Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Micah-Gel Cadenas Kadano of Cagayan State University, and Daylight Abas of Cavite State University.   

Moderator Janess Ann Ellao with a sign language interpreter. (Photo: IAWRT Philippines).

Moderators were IAWRT officers Janess Ann Ellao, a journalist and teacher, and Sonia Capio, also a teacher. producer and radio host. A youth reactor, Sophia Dianne Garcia, also a Filipina and fellow at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, shared her own insights after the discussion.     

Lynda Garcia, head of IAWRT Philippines, and Project leader Oona Solberg of the Journalism & Media International Center (JMIC) at OsloMet delivered welcome remarks during the program.  

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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. 

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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.