Press freedom is the ground on which journalism stands. It applies to journalists who work in a media landscape where journalists get the choice between violence or bribery, as well as to those who feel the pressure of downsizing of news staff and bad working conditions.
Journalists who struggle to publish fact-checked news stories based on a diverity of sources, work in line with the principles of press freedom. Reporters being verbally and physically attacked, detained or even killed are victims of conditions where press freedom is non existing or weak.
The Rig on press freedom is a project made to raise journalism students’ understanding of the importance of press freedom. Here, journalism students look into the conditions for press freedom in countries aroung the world. The students’ news stories about press freedom is linked – or rigged – together and published.
In 2008, in order to teach journalism students the meaning and significance of press freedom and its conditions, this pedagogical tool was created at the Department of journalism and media studies at OsloMet. In 2015, Elsebeth Frey took the Rig on press freedom to École de journalisme in Cannes, France.
With the cooperation of JMIC, she and Mathias Falch did the Rig with journalism students at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine in 2017 and 2019. In 2018, they did the Rig at Department of Journalism & Communication, Makerere University in Uganda.
In 2020, Elsebeth Frey conducted a training of trainees in Tunis – a workshop on press freedom with journalism teachers from University of Constantine 3, Algeria, and Institut de Presse et des Science de l’Information (IPSI) at University of Manouba, Tunisia. A news workshop and a Rig on press freedom in planned to take place in Nablus in 2021.
Working with the Rig on press freedom inspired research, and there are ongoing transnational projects on the concept of press freedom, and the learning outcomes of the Rig. In 2017, a transnational team of journalism teachers and their students published a book about journalistic core values: Frey, Rhaman & El Bour (Eds.) Negotiating Journalism. Core Values and Cultural Diversities (Nordicom).