Protecting Truth Tellers: Safety and Ethics of Journalists in the Pandemic

(Left to Right) Lynda Garcia-Catindig, IAWRT Philippines President, Jola Diones-Mamangun, IAWRT Treasurer, Abeer Saady, IAWRT Vice President. Violet Gonda, IAWRT President, Margarita Valle, IAWRT Philippines Vice President, Oona Solberg, Journalism and Media International Center, Gie Herrera, Radio Journalist, Sonia Capio, IAWRT member and Sanafe Marcelo, IAWRT Admin and Finance staff.

Journalist safety expert Abeer Saady stressed the importance of ensuring both physical and psychological health of media workers covering the pandemic in a webinar hosted by the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) 27 October. 

Like a pyramid, giving oneself the care they need should be a top priority — with media workers not spared from afflicting the dreaded virus. 

Having covered conflict areas, Saady also shared that the toll on a journalist’s mental health can sometimes take years before it can be diagnosed.  

Saady stressed that journalists both in the Philippines and in other countries have faced relentless “character assassination” in a bid to silence their critical reportage.  

To counter such attacks, Saady encouraged journalists to involve the communities they are working with.  

 Abeer Saady is a war correspondent, researcher, media consultant and trainer, with 27 years of professional experience in conflict zones within the Middle East and Africa, including conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunis, Yemen, Thailand, Philippines and Pakistan. 

Supported by the Journalism & Media International Center of Oslo Metropolitan University, over 30 Filipino journalists participated in the webinar, including those who are facing trumped-up cases and victims of vilification campaigns.  

Among the Filipino journalists who shared their respective experiences during the pandemic were: Ms. Dabet Panelo, Secretary-General of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines or NUJP; Ms. Anne Krueger, Paghimutad co-founder and journalist; and Ms. Kath Cortez, journalist and Media Safety Office Coordinator for Eastern Mindanao of NUJP. 

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