More than 20 students and journalists participated in the webinar on the safety of journalists during the COVID-19 pandemic, organised by JMIC at OsloMet University and Department of Communication and Digital Media (DCDM) at An-Najah National University in Palestine on Tuesday 8th December 2020.
Abeer Saady, the international expert in safety and security for journalists from the Arab region, presented a holistic approach to safety and security – physical, psychosocial – and focused on: COVID 19 safety and journalism ethics and digital safety.
This webinar came in the context of series of activities held jointly by JMIC at OsloMet and DCDM at An-Najah University, in accordance with agreements between the two universities. Webinars on safety of journalists during COVID-19 pandemic have also been organised with other countries, such as: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Uganda and Nepal.
Oona Solberg, who works for Journalism & Media International Center (JMIC) at Oslo Metropolitan University – OsloMet, opened the session by focusing on the danger in which journalists live in, as around 600 media workers in around 50 countries have lost their life this year: more than 370 victims of the Covid-19 and 53 targeted for other reasons. Many others have suffered attacks, threats, pressures or restrictions on their freedom to inform, according to the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC).
Many international experts are concerned by the lack of protection of journalists in some countries and the deterioration of press freedom in the context of the pandemic – see for example reports from Freedom House.
Abeer Saady focused on how COVID-19 represent a threat and a challenge to the journalists around the world, and the measurements which should be taken to confront and overcome this challenge. This was followed by a long and wide discussion, particularly on safety of journalists and the ethical principles of journalism performance in exceptional circumstances.
(By Farid A. F. Abudheir (Dr.)
(Abudheir is an assistant professor at the Department of Communication & Digital Media at An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine. He is interested in researching in Palestinian and Arab media, the coverage of Palestinian cause, Islamic movements in media, and media ethics.)