Book of Abstracts 2019 Conference



5th annual conference on the Safety of JournalistsDigital Safety

November 6, 7 and 8

Oslo Metropolitan University





Session 1:

Law, impunity and the role of the journalist in the media


  1. Abit Hoxha: Thinking like NGO – working like journalist: Working conditions and news production in conflicts in Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo



This paper looks and compares at the working conditions of conflict journalists in Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo and the NGO-isation of their work and how such roles are developing with the influence of NGOs and humanitarian agenda in the ground.


The first issue with NGO-isation is the funding of the media by the humanitarian and international organizations through NGOs while forcing functional media to register as NGOs in order to benefit from such aid initiatives and the second issue is the NGO-isation of news production  these two countries and the second NGO-isation of news gathering practice, sources and even narration of news in conflict. These two issues will be looked upon by analyzing data from the interviews with journalists conducted in Burundi (resp. Rwanda where most of journalists were in exile during the violent events of 2015-17), Goma in the South of DRC and Kinshasa (2015-2016) in the capital. Some major findings include that journalists are separating the editorial and ownership issues of funded media as NGOs in one hand and are adapting to the new roles of functioning like a humanitarian worker in the field while reporting like a journalist. These two strands of research contribute to better understanding of evolving role of journalist in conflict and functional equivalence of NGOs in conflict together with media. The ambiguity of role becomes somewhat more clarified with the journalist’s routines and verifications of news but using NGO sources also brings humanitarian and peace-oriented narrative in the reports covering conflict. Working conditions enable journalists to become chameleons in gathering news and reporting news from different angle. Since working conditions have already shifted, so has the role and routines becoming more and more difficult for journalists. The first level of influence is naturally the funding from the EU institutions in conflict NGOs and media whereas the real influence comes in implicit form of communication from the offices of media relations of such NGOs for journalists. The first routine of journalists in news gathering is skimming through social media accounts of NGOs that report on conflicts and get inspired by content pushed by field reporters of humanitarian organizations. Thus the idea of news very often comes from NGOs. The narration and sourcing of news reports also prioritizes NGO sources as independent and non-partisan in the mind of journalists. Such sources are constantly quoted by journalists thus creating strategic narratives and strategic expertise from NGO content and personnel. In narrating news, a good portion of news is inspired, narrated and sourced by such reporting efforts. The data for this paper has been collected throughout 2015-2016 and is done through the retrospective reconstructive interviews which confront journalists with their produced content in attempt to deepen understanding of news production process in conflict. Such data is compared with generic news production routines to see the difference.


Keywords:  ngo-isation, journalism, news production, journalists in conflict, news ideation, news narratives.


  1. Hanan Badr: Journalists in Exile & Perceived Safety: how shrinking public sphere affected Egyptian journalists in Exile



When the Arab uprisings erupted 2011, media research acknowledged the transformation paradigm, even if Arab media evolved into different paths i.e. slow consolidation in Tunisia and civil war in Libya. For Egypt, initial euphoria was present and formulated plans to reform Egyptian journalism. As the public sphere gradually shrunk, the evolving media closed down; research returned to the authoritarian resilience paradigm.

Since 2013, the words ‘risk’, ‘crisis’ and ‘stagnation’ describe developments in Egyptian journalism best. Not only in terms of media freedom and practices, but in the financial constraints and decline of professionalism and well as the growing exile of regime-critical voices. However, we know very little about journalists in exile, who still face persecution and consequences of what they publish.


Departing from the current media situation in Egypt- which just has worsened in the past 2 weeks- this paper’s main hypothesis is: the tighter the public sphere and higher the risks journalists face is in a given media system, the more compelled journalists are to get out of the system to pursue their profession.

The growing numbers of exiled regime-critical journalists in the post Arab Spring phase are living proof. They operate from a number of European and Arab capitals, yet still work for an audience back ‘home’. Many of them face consequences as they cannot return to Egypt anymore, their family gets threatened or they get harassed by authorities.  In the same time, the study wants to highlight the journalists’ agency and not only perceive them as victims or targets of regime actions.


The study answers the following RQs:

How do journalists in exile choose to respond to the safety risks and repressive measures in their profession?


How do they operate from exile to legitimize themselves for potential audiences back home?

What constraints and chances do journalists face in their newly found homes?


Methodologically, the paper uses in-depth semi-structured interviews with journalists who live in Berlin and London, who left Egypt after 2011. This study utilizes the interpretative power of Small N to explore under-researched phenomena. Contextualizing their responses within the context of tightening media regulations and freedoms contributes to the development of the public sphere theory.


  1. Peter Tiako Ngangum: Journalism in Cameroon: A high-risk and dangerous profession?



In an increasingly mediated and human rights aware world, states cannot longer presume to exercise a legitimate monopoly of force and violence within their territorial borders. Alongside other violent actors, they must now expect to become subject to the world’s media spotlight and wider censure when perpetuating and condoning illegitimate violence. In the contemporary world, the violence and threats against journalists emanate from varied sources, in different contexts and for diverse reasons. Sometimes, they are state sanctioned or seemingly state-condoned when perpetuators are permitted to kill or abuse journalists with impunity. At other times, the violence is without state control in ungovernable spaces. Between 2012 and 2016, 530 journalists were killed, an average of two deaths per week. After a peak in 2012, the African region witnessed a significant decline in killings of journalists. However, due to continued conflict and instability in Cameroon since the fall of 2016, violence and impunity for crimes against journalists remains the norm. Journalism in Cameroon has becoming a very high-risk and dangerous profession. Reporters, editors and media outlets are being targeted, harassed and intimidated more regularly and in increasing numbers in the course of their reporting and story investigation. Since 2017, at least 20 journalists have been arrested and jailed in Cameroon for doing their jobs. Cameroon is now ranked the second worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, it is not an issue which in itself is often reported. Occasionally, there is an event such as the arrest of Mimi-Mefo, which brings to the fore the intimidation and violent opposition journalism and free speech can face. And once a year, the free speech and journalism non-governmental organizations report annual tally of journalists and media workers killed. But, the underlying facts behind these figures are little discussed, and the wider impact on society little considered. Most of the journalists arrested and jailed in Cameroon are not the international reporters who can make global headlines. They are local journalists investigating crime, corruption, abuse of human rights-journalists seeking to stand by a professional commitment to free speech and inquiry. This paper unpack the dangers and difficulties journalists in Cameroon face in conducting their daily work. It examines the trends behind the rise in journalists’ intimidation, violence, arbitrary arrest and detention and consider the factors which have led to the rise. I will look at some specific cases and draw from interviews and literature review to understand the different pressures faced by journalists in Cameroon. I argue that the protection of journalists operating from uncivil spaces cannot be regarded simply as a matter to do only with them-it implicates all of us. Thus, wider institutional and legal frameworks are necessary and should be robustly enforced if journalists in the future and those currently reporting from hostile territories, are to be properly safeguarded.


Keywords// Cameroon/Journalists/Safety/Impunity.


  1. Daniela Osvald Ramos and Elizabeth Saad: Reports of violence to Brazilian journalists and its mediation by algorithms: cases form the 2018 Presidential Elections



In 2018, threats and killings of journalists in Brazil increased by 30%, according to the report “Violations of freedom of expression” (2019), reported by Artigo 19, a non-governmental human rights organization. There were 26 death threats, four homicides, four attempts murder and a kidnapping. In an election year, other types of incidents linked to the intimidation of journalism were also recorded. Since 2018 journalists from major media companies, living in the largest cities in the country, have been suffering death threats over the Internet and being the victims of “virtual lynching”. Journalist Patrícia Campos Mello of Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, one of the largest in circulation, headquartered in the largest city in Latin America, was the target of a defamation campaign organized on the Internet after she published a report about the use of false news on WhatsApp on president-elect campaign. Carlos de Lannoy, a reporter for Rede Globo, the largest television network in audience, received death threat on Twitter after reporting on the Brazilian army’s action in Rio de Janeiro, which fired 80 shots in a car and killed a musician and a homeless who went to help him; journalist Miriam Leitão of the GNT cable channel linked to the Globo group also suffered attacks after her elections’ coverage and, more recently, was a deep fake victim about her activism during the military dictatorship. Many other cases have been continuously and in detail recorded by ABRAJI – Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism and ABERT, the association for Radio and TV professionals.

According to 2017 data from Reporters Without Borders (ABERT, 2018), Brazil is one of the ten countries in the world in cases of journalists’ murders without punishment. Russia and Mexico are also listed and Somalia at the first place. Violence in Brazil is endemic and has complex historical roots. This background creates an enabling environment for the development of a “hate ecosystem” (Fisher & Taub, 2019) in the digital environment, in which journalists become desirable targets, according to what they publish. Therefore, to address the lack of security of journalists in the country today, in addition to combating social inequality and endemic violence linked to the promotion of a democratic environment and freedom of expression without hate speech, greater attention and regulation will also be required for algorithm-mediated violence.

The purpose of this paper is to present a diagnosis of the aggressions and threats to Brazilian journalists from the 2018 electoral scenario. From this, we intend to discuss how the social platforms affordances, their algorithms and the incidence of lynching cases inside them act as a lever for the dissemination of hate speech and even physical threats against Brazilian journalists.

The recent period of occurrence of facts reduces the availability of in-depth studies, implying a descriptive and exploratory research. Thus, we opted for a multi-methodological approach based on reports published by different institutions that allow a historical and factual recovery of the theme; we will use in-depth interviews with journalists affected by violence to find out their practice; and an analysis of the algorithmic action on the theme on social platforms from studies already published.


  1. Janina Islam Abir: Ignorance is Bliss: Not for Digital Journalism. A study in the context of Bangladesh National Parliament Elections 2018



Digital journalism deals with multi-facet issues that require extensive education and training to deal with it. However, analyzing the syllabus and course toolkit of the courses prove that there is barely anything that comprises the challenges of digital journalism.  The paper explores the lapses in the curricula of universities and professional training institutions in terms of preparing journalists or future journalist with knowledge and skill to fight against the digital dangers. To discuss the impact of such shortcomings in the national curricula, the paper studied the case of national parliament election 2018 in Bangladesh where the scope of digital journalism was made limited and fake news, disinformation and threats to journalists were in its peak.

Bangladesh government has limited internet service and mobile internet speed to fight against the ubiquitous use of fake news and circulation of propaganda during National Parliament Election 2018 (The Daily Telegraph, 2018). Since Bangladesh is progressing towards development and weaving flag around the world as `Digital Bangladesh’, this practice of calling off internet service was contradictory to the freedom of expression as well as digital freedom. Bangladesh has a high penetration rate of internet users (over 92 million) that makes the internet one of the most accessible platforms for journalists, individuals and organizations. Therefore, the impact of digital blockade and journalist left with almost zero knowledge on how to deal with the challenges makes the situation more crucial.


This paper explores the deficiency of digital training and education for Bangladeshi journalists where the new era of journalism is exceedingly dependent on information and communication technology. This paper embraced content analysis to identify the shortcomings of current curriculum of universities and training institutions (23 departments of public and private universities along with 2 professional training institutions are currently offering education and training on journalism). Besides content analysis, the study has also done a case study of national parliament election to understand the impact of such unpreparedness and ignorance of journalists on election reporting. Since online media are flourishing in Bangladesh with 2, 217 online portals at present (The Dhaka Tribune, 2019), journalism is getting affected by the multi-dimensional perspective for the chronic ignorance in this realm.


Keywords: Digital Journalism, Education, Bangladesh, National Parliament Election, Curricula, Disinformation, Safety



  1. Andrea Cancino (Co-author: Marta Milena Barrios): Between a rock and a hard place: Journalists multiple roles in the Colombian Public Debate



The past seven years have posed formidable challenges for Colombian society; in the same way as for the press. During this period, the negotiation of the peace process with the FARC guerrilla began and finished, and the post-conflict arrived with its frustrated expectations of ending the violence in the country. Since the signing of the peace accords, more than 700 social leaders and 135 former combatants have been killed (Indepaz, 2019), some guerrilla leaders have made a call for return to war, around 3.000 fighters have taken up arms again, and hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes as a result of violence (Casey, 2019). Currently, the very foundation of the Peace accord is threatened. In this worrisome scenario, journalists have frequently become the news on account of the 2.353 times they have been victims of a wide range of attacks, including 12 killings and 21 kidnappings (FLIP, 2019). As authors have stated (Prager & Hameleers, 2018; Reuben, 2009; Wolfsfeld, 1997), as enablers of public participation, journalists play an essential role in the formation of public opinion, and can, therefore, be regarded as influential actors in conflict resolution.


Using a combination of qualitative data analysis techniques, we analyzed 1.469 news pieces and opinion texts about the Colombian peace process, published between 2012 and 2018 in the four most visited digital news outlets, to explore what issues are being discussed in public opinion when journalists appear in the news and what are society’s expectations regarding their work  during post-conflict. Results showed that there are 27 topics in which journalists are mentioned on the news, grouped on three macro-categories: Colombian Conflict; Media and Conflict; Politics and Politicians. We found that government officials and political leaders consider reporters as key actors for conflict resolution, and have high expectations on journalists’ public mobilizer role. However, many of them criticized their work and made appeals for them to work for “the best interests of the country” the way politicians saw it. In what is presented as a vast paradox, the State fails to provide a safe and secure environment for journalists to perform their work freely. News accounts for journalists being victims of violence, personal attacks, censorship, defamation, kidnapping, sexual abuse or even murder. We argue that Colombian reporters live in constant pressure, due to the tension between the expectations of the different social actors and stakeholders, and the reality of becoming the victims of the violence themselves. Therefore, a meaningful commitment of all institutions is needed so that they can work to contribute in a more effective way towards the collective longing for a stable and lasting peace.


  1. Nermeen Alzarak: Cost of online connection; Egyptian journalists awareness of digital dangers and techniques to attain professional safety – Field and analytical study



Online connection became one of the main features of our life today, whether between people or in the media sector. As the online connection yielded many benefits, it also caused different undesirable effects on people, media and journalists.

When trying to evaluate the online connection’s consequences, it can be said that the Internet is a pathway for information sharing and a virtual meeting square where individuals can provide contrary information and views, debate key issues, and associate with each other, offering the opportunity for people to realize the right to freedom of expression and association like no other time in history (Jennifer R. Henrichsen Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues, 2015). From the other hand there are diversified threats and dangers occurred as a result of this online connection and internet usage such as illegal digital surveillance, character assassination, hacking personal and formal institutional accounts, website deformation, theft of digital resources and many other undesirable dangers and threats.

In Egypt there are many problems in the media sector which are related – to great extent – to the online connection and its uses and consequences on journalists’ safety, media credibility and professional practices, so these threats or problems can be considered as a tax or cost of the digital age and increased online connection. While journalists have to be aware enough of all kinds of dangers of digital attacks to protect themselves, having different techniques, policies and well- prepared regulations to combat these dangers of digital attacks are very necessary to support the journalists and protect them, their sources and their work.


Based on in-depth interviews with 45 journalists from the different Egyptian newspapers and news sites (partisan, state owned and private), the study will present a comprehensive overview about the actual digital dangers and challenges which Egyptian journalists face because of their journalistic work, seeking to clarify to what extent Egyptian journalists have awareness about all kinds of digital dangers and its undesirable consequences on their professional practices, freedom of expression, and their safety. Moreover how do they combat these dangers in terms of individual techniques and institutional techniques?

The study will investigate also the legal framework which regulates the digital media and online communication in Egypt, as well as explaining the different Legal issues and policy making strategies related to digital dangers and journalists’ professional safety.

The study – depending on media laws & media institutions’ internal regulations – will analyze and evaluate the legal framework in order to deduce how effectively such legal framework attains free flow of information, journalists’ rights, and professional safety for journalists in Egypt.


Key words: Digital Safety of journalists – Legal issues – Egyptian journalists – Online connection undesirable consequences – Dangers of digital attacks -Freedom of expression – Professional practices against digital threats.


  1. Samiksha Koirala: Journalists safety in the digital age in Nepal and the role of NGOs



Although Nepal has Nepal has entered a new era of democracy and press freedom since 2006, self-censorship still exists in the reporting/editing of many Nepali journalists. Nepal has more than a 100 years of press history, most of it has faced several pressure from the government if not censorship.

Different studies show that the reasons for the self-censorship vary, but it is mostly caused by perceived external pressure (Skerjdal, 2008:125) which leads the journalists to modify or skip the news stories to avoid threats and accusations. While most of the time self-censorship is linked with political pressure, there can be other factors which force journalists to manipulate their expression/opinions. Therefore, self-censorship in journalism not only manipulates the fact but also prevents people’s access to information. In essence, extensive practice of self-censorship may interrupt the functioning of a democratic society.

The research undertakes the Nepali private media (online news portals and broadsheet dailies) as a case study. Eleven journalists from nine different news organizations were interviewed in the period of April to June, 2019. In order to narrow down the study, the study included only the journalists working in national broadsheet daily newspapers and online news portals. The topics covered were mainly around journalist profiles, organizational environment, professional values and their experiences while covering “controversial” or “sensitive” issues. It also presents journalists’ doubts as well as some good practices adopted by the journalists to overcome “barriers” to ensure news contents are not censored.

Drawing upon interviews with journalists, the chapter demonstrates how self-censorship is being practiced in Nepali media houses as a result of state power, the culture of impunity, commercial interests and political inclination of journalists.  While highlighting these agents, the article also aims to explain difference in practices of self-censorship by gender and type of news media (that is online vs.  print media). The chapter also highlights some of the “good practices” by journalists to ensure freedom of expression and the autonomy of the journalism.



  1. Ayetkin Kaan Kurtul: Free Speech and Privacy in the Digital Age: Between Public and Private Interferences on Internet



This paper is about the exercise of the right to free speech and privacy in the era of social media. It deals with the subject from a legal perspective, observing the international treaties that bind States, as well as the regulations and policies of big corporations in the field. Its methodology consists of case study and the comparison of two contexts; while its goal is to shed light on how the “public” nature of such human rights can be compatible with the private nature of digital and social media. Ever since the days of the Enlightenment, freedom of expression has been one of the cardinal political rights of a citizen in a modern society. By the the 20th century, the drafters of the key sources of international human rights law (IHRL) such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) began to recognise freedom of expression as a right encompassing all forms of expression and exercised by everyone, along with the right to privacy. Therefore, in principle, both rights had to be respected by all UN Member States as well as those States that had ratified the ICCPR. In the past two decades, however, this scheme has been altered drastically with the advent of social media and the creation of a space where most people across the globe began to share their expressions as “users” on platforms owned by private parties with headquarters in different countries. Hence, a critical question arose: Would public entities and private businesses be bound by the same principles? In seeking to answer this question, this paper primarily focuses on the sources of IHRL such as the UDHR, the ICCPR and the European Convention on Human Rights and how the right to freedom of expression and privacy enshrined therein has been applied and interpreted by international courts, panels of experts and UN special rapporteurs. With a caseby-case approach, the paper observes the praxis on national, regional and international levels and establishes the standards by which the public entities of the States concerned ought to abide. In the second part, the paper discusses the policies and regulations of social media outlets: At first view, it addresses whether the regulations in question are theoretically and/or practically compatible with the IHRL principles and, consequently, whether the principles that are applicable to public entities can also be applied to private entities. Thirdly, the paper dwells on how the limitations posed by public entities and private businesses impact the lives

of journalists and users: Do they succeed in protecting individuals from hate speech or do they hinder democratic society by constraining free speech?

In conclusion, the paper infers that the need to transform social media into a truly “public sphere” (Öffentlichkeit) is an urgent matter and that the most viable way of doing so is ensuring the democratic/public ownership of the internet and, by extension, social media; as it is the only way of guaranteeing the applicability of IHR treaties.


Keywords: Free speech; privacy; public international law; public comparative law; business and human rights; internet; social media 



  1. Banafsheh Ranji: Poor employment conditions as detrimental as political pressure: A study on Iranian journalists precarious working circumstances



What are the employment conditions under which Iranian journalists work? How does the poor working conditions, such as job insecurity and low wages, influence their journalistic practices? This study, for the first time, investigates how precarious working conditions and economic insecurity play a part in undermining journalistic ideals in Iran. The empirical material includes in-depth interviews with 26 journalists working in established media outlets in Iran. I analysed the interviews through thematic analysis.  In the interviews, the poor working conditions were one of the most cited obstacles to achieving journalistic ambitions. The findings indicate that job insecurity, low salary, no insurance coverage, no set contracts, a lack of organizational financial support, no employment benefits, and a heavy workload, are among the elements shaping the journalists’ poor recruitment conditions. The average monthly income for the journalists in this study was around 1,200,000 Tomans, equivalent to 300 Euros, in 2016. The same amount of salary is equivalent to about 100 Euros in 2019.  In order to compensate for the poor salaries and no insurance coverage, some journalists work for different news organizations, or they have jobs other than journalism, which result in the journalists’ frustration and a decline in investigative reporting. An investigative journalist may spend a long time researching, which is rarely possible for most of the journalists in this study. Investigative journalism also demands greater resources. However, the journalists in this study suffer from a lack of support from the news organizations. The journalists talk about the possibility of the involvement of other journalists in accepting external payments and acting as mouthpieces for outsider actors, due to the poor working conditions. They also report that they have witnessed some journalists working in the public relations sector of the organizations with which they have news work relationships. The journalists also argue that economic hardship, along with job insecurity, results in their continually changing their news beat, which challenges specialized reporting. The journalists talk about the experiences of dismissal, or of being threatened with being fired, by news organizations’ top executives. They say that most of the news organizations do not stand against the external pressures imposed on the journalists. The journalists talk about instances when the authorities contacted news organizations and ordered media managers to stop collaborating with a specific journalist, and thus the journalists were dismissed. Ordering media managers to dismiss a journalist is another form of political pressure on journalists that is not discussed in the earlier research. There have also been cases in which the authorities have contacted media managers as a result of journalists’ online activities, for instance, the content that they have published on Twitter, and the news organization has fired them at the authorities’ request. The state also plays a crucial role in sustaining the poor working conditions of journalists. The legal authorities shut down the Association of Iranian Journalists in 2009, and, so far, they have not permitted it to reopen. The lack of a union or association is a matter of great concern for the journalists.  This study highlights that in a context that is marked with economic and political instability, the uncertain economic realities and poor employment conditions under which many Iranian journalists live, and the lack of an independent actor such as a journalistic association, are as significant as the lack of freedom of expression.



Session 2:

Digital threats, harassment and gender


  1. Marte Høiby: The ‘triple effect’ putting female journalists at extra risk online



Online harassment is a growing concern to women journalists and an issue that is now challenging freedom of speech and plurality in the media, according to international bodies working to promote press freedom and the safety of journalists. Part of this issue’s complexity was summarized by the IFJ Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Dear: “In some parts of the world, it’s a result of what women write and in others it’s because of the mere fact that they write” (2017). Perhaps more often, these two motivational factors are working together creating a significantly more threatening environment for female journalists than others. Within the ungoverned spheres of the Internet, the dimension of it appears to grow exponentially. The result is a climate of fear, silence and self-censorship – and potentially women’s absence in the future online public sphere. This chapter presents an explorative theoretical approach to understanding the processes at play when women journalists are threatened and harassed online. Looking primarily to research within gender- and feminist theory, computer communication and cyber psychology studies and literature on antipress violence, I argue that female journalists’ predisposition to online harassment is largely connected to online governance (or lack thereof), an enduring patriarchy and a rise in threats against journalists.


  1. Rabia Noor: Repercussions of Social Media Circus: Scanning Cyber-Bullying against Women



Pakistan is considered as one of the most dangerous states for the journalists, and a ‘bad’ country for press freedom and the rights of journalists as ranked on 142nd slot out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2019, and the situation is getting worse as compared to the last year’s report. Pakistani journalists are countering with objective violence, bullying, state impositions, and influences from pressure groups that put their lives in jeopardy. Field journalists continue to be at risk, especially in the war zones and the ones who are investigating on corruption and taboo stories. At least three journalists were killed in 2018, and two of them had been covering illegal trafficking. Women journalists are very few as compared to the male journalists working in Pakistani media. As more female journalists are joining this field now, mainly in the big cities, but some women already associated with media are quitting their jobs due to several different reasons. Pakistan has a male dominating media landscape like most of the countries around the globe, but the women journalists working here and in other developing countries are facing more stereotypical and biased approach than those working in developed states. In Pakistan, online harassment faced by women journalists is a big issue that, sometimes, escalates and turns into physical threats and violence. And no proper social support system is adding to the already worst situation. Unlike male journalists, female journalists not only face verbal or physical threats, but also sexual bullying in the work field and also in digital space. This study is a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, as the mixed approach takes account of surveys conducted with seventy female journalists around the country and seven in-depth interviews of the women working on key positions in different media houses. This research provides an insight into the digital world of women journalists and its impact on their offline world too. This study also examines and points out the loopholes in the social and professional system and further provides a threshold for the policy makers by suggesting support mechanism to cope with the online vulnerabilities and digital threats faced by women journalists.


Keywords: Women Journalists, Online Harassment, Digital Threats, Cyber Bullying, Pakistan, Social Media



  1. Ivan Nathanael Lukanda (Co-Author: Florence Namasinga Selnes): Digital safety training in newsroom and journalism schools in Uganda



This paper seeks to examine journalists’ knowledge and skills in digital safety. The research aims at investigating how newsrooms and academic journalism institutions prepare practicing and prospective journalists for possible threats to their safety in digital settings. The paper also examines how the institutions cope with challenges and opportunities of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in regard to journalists’ safety. In other words, it is concerned with the extent of journalists’ digital safety training in curricula and training manuals in journalism schools and newsrooms. The paper establishes how prepared journalists are to avoid, counter or preempt possible safety threats in the digital era. ICTs including mobile phones, computers, the Internet and online applications such as Facebook and Twitter have become part and parcel of journalism practice the world over. Globally, journalists operate in a digital environment and use multiple digital tools to do their work. Journalists also use digital platforms to distribute their products and services to consumers, receive feedback and feedforward. On the other hand, ICTs have become a sword that antagonists of journalism deploy to target journalists. There is evidence of increased online and offline surveillance in semi-democratic setting, which makes it important that journalists understand how to navigate through such environments safely. There is evidence of digital security training by civil society organisation and media organisations hence a need to examine how training institutions and newsrooms in particular address digital safety for prospective and practicing journalists.

Grounded in theory about journalists’ safety, media freedom and ICTs and the protection motivation theory, the study will address the following questions: What is the extent of journalists’ digital safety training in newsrooms and journalism schools? How do the institutions address digital safety for journalists? Through the case study research design, data will be collected using document analysis and interviewing. This research feeds into debates on journalists’ safety, a subject that is increasingly drawing scholarly attention due to the growing need to protect news gatherers all over the world.



  1. Florence Namasinga Selnes (Co-Author: Nakiwala Aisha Sembatya): Testifying to Vulnerability: Stories on Newsroom Harassment of Female Journalists in Uganda



In this paper, we investigate the harassment of female journalists in Ugandan newsrooms: The analysis demonstrates how female journalists are harassed in their places of work, and how they navigate their work-place environment when faced with incivility. Theoretically, the issues discussed in this paper are situated at the intersection between scholarly works about gender in the media, journalists’ safety and media freedom. In particular, the analysis focuses on the experience and stories of female journalists and the nature of harassment they encounter. The key research question we ask is: How does harassment directed towards female media practitioners and journalists manifest in newsrooms in Uganda.

Our analysis of newsroom harassment of female journalists in newsrooms is based on studies of three Ugandan female journalists selected from three Ugandan newsrooms based on their willingness to share their work-related stories. In terms of methods, we use SQUIN and more specifically a single question that has been designed to elicit (newsroom harassment) life-stories of select female journalists. These experiences and stories can be important loci for learning about how female journalists negotiate harassment in the workplace, in order to do their work. Thus, these experiences can offer useful foundation for effective stratagem to enhance safety planning for female journalists in particular, and of all journalists in general.


  1. David Cheruiyot: When media critics go on the offensive. Journalist`s (re)actions to personal attacks on social networks



Populism has today spawned cynicism of journalism, anti-press rhetoric and even personal attacks on legacy news media and journalists. Political actors, radical right-wing movements, social commentators or generally, users of social networks, have popularised narratives disparaging the news media (Esser, Stepinska, & Hopmann, 2016; Figenschou & Ihlebæk, 2018; Mazzoleni, 2008), through delegitimising labels such as “fake news” or “liar press” or “enemy of the people1” (Beiler & Kiesler, 2018; Lee & Quealy, 2019; Trump, 2018). At the same time, it is acknowledged in journalism and media criticism studies that critical feedback on digital space is important in ‘watching the watchdog’ (Cooper, 2006). Media critics are argued to be critical for the oversight of the media, and possible alternatives to weak media accountability mechanisms such as press councils and ombudspersons. However, among the rational and constructive criticisms of social networks, journalists receive numerous offensive feedback marked by, among others, sexist, homophobic or vile remarks on social networks (Cheruiyot, 2018) that threaten the safety of journalists and press freedom (Gardiner, 2018; Löfgren Nilsson & Örnebring, 2016). Uncivil statements, personalized attacks and threats all fall in the category of pollutants of the public sphere however much they are argued to symbolize the functioning of free speech in democracies (Hayes, 2008; Reader, 2012; Santana, 2013). The aim of this study is therefore to examine how journalists of legacy news media describe and negotiate such offensive speech on digital space. The special focus is media criticism on social networks that journalists read in the process of news production or in seeking audience feedback. Theoretically, this paper draws from works on media criticism and civility in the public sphere to interrogate the difficult terrain of evaluative feedback that journalists experience in the digital age. I draw the findings from in-depth interviews with 18 practising journalists in Kenya and South Africa who are active users of Twitter and Facebook. The analysis is focused on a.) how journalists describe the variety of offensive criticisms on social networks, and b.) their (re)actions to the offensive criticisms. The findings show that journalists employ a variety of discursive resistance against the offensive speech such as filtering (e.g.) blocking of uncivil users and rationalisation (reasoning with some critics). The findings are evaluated in the context of digital safety of journalists and civility in the public sphere.


Keywords: Civility, digital media criticism, digital safety, public sphere, social networks


  1. Maria Konow Lund: The Global Voices of Female Investigative journalists



Recently, there has been a surge in cross-border journalistic collaboration that focuses on investigative projects, headlined by the Panama and Paradise Papers (see Alfter 2019, 2018, 2015, Sambrook 2018, Konow-Lund et al. 2019) Research has indicated that the ‘lone wolf’ era in investigative journalism is coming to an end, and watchdog journalism is being reconstructed across borders with a special focus on collaboration, digital technology and networking (Alfter 2019).


Few researchers, however, have looked at the ways in which mostly digital spaces have opened up new channels for the distribution of investigative stories originating in places which have typically been silenced by self or state censorship. This new digital opportunity has been particularly salient to female investigative reporters, whose work is often overshadowed by that of their male counterparts, by whom they are often outnumbered as well.


The present paper sheds light on the situation of those female investigative journalists who work in places exposed to the threat of censorship and seeks to understand how their practice and product have been transformed by investigative journalism’s new collaborative and digital networks. More specifically, it examines the ways in which otherwise underrepresented female journalists handle the challenges of workplace harassment, sexual harassment, online intimidation and even local violence. The paper links these issues to the particular affordances of cross-border journalistic collaboration between the Global North and South exposing the case of Daphne Caruana Galiza, who was killed in 2017 by a car bomb in Malta as the culmination of a harassment and intimidation campaign over her investigations. She was persecuted for being a woman journalist with a part in the Panama Papers collaboration.


This paper asks to what degree is Galiza’s situation unique through interviews with nine female investigative journalists in Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and Latin America, as well as four male journalists who are working on ensuring the safety of all journalists through a newly established global online platform. This paper concludes by proposing ways in which collaboration across borders might offer some protections to female investigative journalists, and strategies through which these journalists might also learn to protect themselves.


Keywords: Female investigative journalists, local journalism, global journalism, cross-border collaboration.



  1. Fred Kakooza: Digital safety – perspectives from female journalists in Uganda



The internet/online space has been recognized as a tool for universal access to information which breeds diversity and plurality of voices in this space. However, journalists have been a regular target of online attacks, intimidation and bullying which threats the diversity of voices/information in these digital spaces. And of major concern is that female journalists face a double burden of risk based on their profession as journalists and on their gender as women. This means that the security and safety of female journalists requires a rethink from physical harm to consideration of digital/online security. This study sought to establish safety and security risks faced by Ugandan female journalists in online environments; whether Ugandan female journalists face specific gender safety risks and violations in online environments; and how Ugandan female journalists handle their personal safety in online environment. The findings indicate that female journalist use the internet affordances as an enabler to their profession, that there is a link between physical and digital safety risks, that female journalist are harassed online and a lack of awareness on digital/online protection laws and guidelines. The study concludes that media houses must include digital protection policies in their in-house practice, that is need to continually train and reorient female journalist on digital safety and media school should incorporate training of digital safety and security in their training curriculum.


  1. Yennue Zarate Valderrama: Women reporting on violence in Mexico



What challenges do local female journalists face when covering conflict? This paper will examine specific challenges that female Mexican local journalists face. Within the last decade Mexico has become increasingly hostile towards journalists, given that endemic impunity allows drug-cartels, criminal gangs, and corrupt officials to silence their critics (CPJ, 2017).


Journalism and feminist media scholars concur that everyday culture of most newsrooms is still determined by predominantly male norms (Carter, Branston & Allan 1998; Allan 2010; Byerly 2004; de Bruin 2000; Lavie & Lehman-Wilzig 2005; Melin-Higgins 2004; van Zoonen 1998). Although women have entered several newsrooms, power structures remain predominantly patriarchal (Steves, 2007), reflecting entrenched the predominant political economy of society and the news media. In that sense, the institutional culture of journalism has mirrored the formation of modern society (Djerf-Pierre, 2011).


Female journalists have been historically marginalized and underpaid (McKercher & Mosco, 2007). That is no different in Mexico. Although womens’ voices have gradually gained space in newsrooms, attacks against women journalists are the norm. Physical, psychological, economic and sexual violence against women journalists has increased in the last decade around the world (Article 19, 2018). Threats against them are directed against their bodies and families, and aims to silence their voices, by shrinking their space and delegitimising their thoughts (Spivak 1988; hooks 1989). They also experience aggression in their newsrooms and on their beats, including sexual harassment from colleagues and the public (Skare, 2018).


This research examines women journalists’ experiences of violence, particularly those reporting human rights issues, and sociopolitical conflict, from the perspective of media ethnography; especially in-depth interviews with local female journalists and editors of city newspapers in regions of Mexico that are experiencing violence, including Mexico City. Preliminary findings indicate that there is a high level of psychological aggression directed against female journalists, which can contribute to legitimizing other forms of violence against them and discredit their voices. Attacking female journalists’ bodies and families online and elsewhere has become a means of controlling their coverage, and has led to some being forced from their regions. Emerging themes in the research include the lack of media policies to protect female journalists and the gendered nature of the impunity in Mexico that puts regional women journalists in danger.


  1. Ilmari Hiltunen: Digital Threats Faced by Finish Journalists



In contemporary hybrid media environment journalists are increasingly visible and accessible. Simultaneously, polarization of political climate has emboldened politicians and various other actors to publicly express and instigate hostility towards journalists and the media. These developments have transformed the media landscape and societal environment where journalists operate and prompted a growing need for research exploring newly emerged challenges and threats to journalists and journalism.


This mixed methods research examines digital threats faced by journalists in Finland. By using Finland as a case example, this research demonstrates how digital threats manifest in contemporary journalistic environment in stable and democratic Western country with strong legal, cultural and institutional safeguards for press freedom and journalistic autonomy.


Based on a combination of two self-report surveys conducted in 2019 and 2017 and 30 semi-structured interviews with Finnish working journalists, the research explores the extent and consequences of digital threats to journalists and journalistic profession in general, covering phenomena like online verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation, cyberstalking, public defamation and security breaches. By combining quantitative and qualitative data, this research aims to produce new empirical knowledge that can be utilized to strengthen the resilience of journalists against digital threats therefore reinforcing the external autonomy of journalism.


The research points out that while social media and digital communication environment have become integral part of journalistic work, the risks they pose are not often systematically addressed. The surveys illustrate that verbal abuse and intimidation online are already common elements of their work for part of Finnish journalists and large segments of journalists face them at least sporadically. Crowdsourced harassment organized online is especially problematic, as it can cause significant detrimental effects to individual journalists while employers feel that they can do little to shield their journalists from this type of harassment.


The results indicate that digital threats have the potential to increase the psychological strain of journalistic work and cause chilling effects and self-censorship among journalists even in countries with high level of press freedom. This implies that to effectively reduce and counter these risks and effects, new types of technical, social and psychological skills are needed from journalists and journalistic work communities.


  1. Masduki Masduki: Assessment of the Safety of Journalists in the Digital Indonesia



Violence against journalists, be it in the form of harassment, kidnappings, assault, or murder, is an attack not only on civilians but on democracy. This paper serves as a review of crimes committed against journalists in Indonesia within the past five years (2014–2019) as digital media platforms have grown rapidly. Special attention will give to journalists’ experiences with violence during their work on two projects: IndonesiaLeaks, an investigation of corruption among Indonesian police elites ( and Sexy Killers, a work of video journalism that explores the links between  energy companies and Indonesia’s top politicians ( However, even though Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and third largest democracy, systematic studies of threats against the country’s journalists in the digital era are rare.


This paper will map out the magnitude of the violence against journalists (2014-2019) and then it examines the roles and modes of intervention of three prominent civil society organizations (CSOs) that work on media policy in Indonesia, namely the Alliance of Independence Journalist (AJI), a prominent association of journalists in Indonesia; the Press Legal Aid Institute; and the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (Safenet). Three questions will be answered: what violence is experienced by Indonesian journalists in the digital world? What political conditions drive the growing tendency of violence against journalists? To what extent do existing media policy and advocacy groups solve the problem? Materials for this paper have been collected from semi-structured interviews with CSO activists and senior journalists, as well as intensive review of media policy documents and field observations in Jakarta—the Indonesian capital—between 2014 and 2019.


This paper argues that amidst the weak of media policy in protecting journalistic work, the presence of digital economy and digital media in particular (2014-2019) advanced the violence against media professional previously existed in analogue media era (pre-2014). The violence against journalist in the Indonesian digital media landscape is not simply a direct act against individual news persons, but is connected to electoral candidates’ broader political contestations between 2014 and 2019. Using the cases of IndonesiaLeaks and Sexy Killers, two trends can be found in lawsuits and hate speech against journalists: violence as a means of controlling political power and violence as part of a digital war between presidential candidates’ supporters.


This paper first introduces the magnitude of the violence against journalists following the mushrooming of online media services as well as online journalists. It then explores the actors and motives behind the escalation of such crimes. Finally, it discusses the challenges posed by Indonesia’s media policy advocates in resolving those cases. This study helps map out recent forms of journalist intimidation in the Indonesian digital, as transitional democracy, and identifies ways that journalists’ safety may be secured (particularly through the framework of media advocates).



Session 3:

Surveillance, censorship and press freedom



  1. Abeer Saady Soliman: The influence of the journalists digital capital on their safety in “Islamic State” (IS) controlled region in the Middle Est. A cross-border study conducted by journalists covering conflict in IS- controlled journalistic field in Syria, Iraq and Libya (2013-20199)



This research examines the influence of the journalists’ social, cultural, and economic capitals, with a particular highlight on the economic digital capitals on their safety decision making when operating within the journalistic field controlled by the Jihadi group “Islamic State” (IS) in the Middle East. Journalists as social actors occupy objective positions within a particular social field. These positions are determined by capital actors to have gathered or owned or known. These capitals enable them to negotiate their positions (Bourdieu, 1977). The research the objective is to investigate the journalists’ agency as gatekeepers within the journalistic field controlled by the jihadi group, turning social, economic and cultural capital into symbolic capital. I argue that the symbolic capitals increase or decrease the agency of the journalists in the IS Controlled journalistic field.


The cross-border research uses a case study of the journalists who operated in the journalistic field controlled by the group ‘IS’ in the Middle East, within Syria, Iraq, and Libya. The time frame for the case study is when the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), controlled physical regions between the rise and fall of the proclaimed state from 2013 to 2019.

To answer the research question, the methodology focused on using Bourdieu’s lens of the concept of capital and the hierarchy of influence, analysis 55 semi structured interviews, and observations. The sample is formed of international, local; citizen journalists and fixers covered the conflict in IS-controlled regions in Syria, Iraq and Libya.


This research is part of a wider study that examines how the kinds of conflict management relationship between journalists and the jihadi group “Islamic State” (IS) influence the Journalists Habitus, routines, and the conflict reporting ethical and safety decisions.



  1. Jhon Babu Koyye: Conceptualizing the Journalistic Practices of Reporting Conflict: A Case Study of Kashmir



Ensuring safety and security to the very presence and existence of the media professionals in any conflict zone in the world is a compelling need of the hour. Journalists in Kashmir – the conflict zone in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, face risks that an ordinary citizen does not and have rights as members of a profession, which others do not. Their professional journey since the 1990s has been a walk-on tight rope which is under constant pressure from different stakeholders of the conflict – political leadership, media ownership, commercial forces, military, resistant leadership and Government pressure. Despite the inevitable hostile conditions, media professionals in the region have been risking their lives unprecedently to fetch the truth into the public cognizance. This deadliest reality has been once more reiterated with the recent killing of Sugar Bukhari, the found-editor of Rising Kashmir, English newspaper, was the 19th journalist who fell to bullets in the last three decades of conflict in Kashmir. They have always had to tiptoe around directly challenging the concepts upheld by the security establishments, separatists, and militia groups active in the region. The journalism profession in this region is hell-bent on unearthing the reality despite frequent Internet bans, heavy censorship, restrictive media policy and indoctrination. Pertinent to mention that Kashmir is the only region in India where no private owned Television is in place, however, the Government owned both TV and Radio are active. The journalists representing this region have been vigorously resisting all the odds placed on their way and committed to negotiate for their professional space. However, there have been trends specific to Kashmir being interplayed by the media professionals in the region to avoid or to escape the shadow of a threat to life from the said stakeholders of the conflict. Hence, this paper aims at exploring the Kashmir specific journalistic ways and means to protest but in a more subtle ways to dissent, like publishing blank spaces to alert readers that material/content had been censored or it is a way of expression for not letting the newspapers to have the Government advertisements which is a lifeline for the newspaper survival. Further, this paper concentrates on how the Journalists in Kashmir region have been resorting to the online media to surpass the Government’s curbs on print media. Data were collected with a systematic random sampling approach of talking to 70 media managers and journalists from the region. Data analysis was aimed to anchor the possible establishment of interdisciplinary interpolation through the lenses of the sociology of conflict communication. Upon the nature of this study’s conceived questions and objectives, this paper shares its relevance with dialectical theory of human communication as it explains behaviors and patterns of everyday life of journalists in conflict zones so also deals with the dialectical tensions in their daily relationships.


  1. Kriti Bhuju: Headline- Content Inconsistency in Online Media in Nepal: Effects of Misinformation on readers



Information disseminated by any news can be misleading without being deliberately false. It is said that news cannot be false but the content can.  As the number of online news portal are mushrooming in Nepal, there are many cases where the headline and news content mismatches there by confusing the readers.


Most of the online media in Nepal are blamed to be deliberately using inconsistent headline to attract the readers and increase their visibility. They try to confuse or manipulate the readers to increase their website traffic. Social media is blamed for the wide spreading of such news and it is from where readers are highly exposed. Most of the readers attack the journalist for providing disinformation. Misinformation also goes beyond challenging the journalists’ reputation and safety. The purpose and effectiveness of journalists are questioned.

Earlier studies have found that misleading headlines affect readers’ memory, their inferential reasoning and behavioral intentions, as well as the impressions people form about the media. Misinformation is particularly dangerous because it is frequently organized, well resourced and reinforced by automated technology (Ecker et al, 2010a). At present the social media spread such information very rapidly and readers get aggressive and attack the journalist in social sites.

The dual-process theory of misinformation effects (Ecker et al2010a; Wilson & Brekke, 1994) assumes that if misinformation represented in memory is automatically activated in response to cues, it requires strategic processing—such as the explicit recollection of the retraction—to avoid reliance on misinformation. Misinformation effects therefore arise when misinformation is automatically retrieved and strategic monitoring fails (Ecker et al., 2010a).

Hence, it is very important to find out the causes of misinformation and its impact on the readers so that the credibility of journalism remains and journalists are trusted.

Therefore, the study will examine the effects of inconsistent or misleading headlines and how this disinformation effects the readers.  The research questions are: Why does online media content uses inconsistent headline and contents? How does this disinformation effect the readers and their trust toward the media and the journalists? What are the ways for the mitigation of this problem?


Methodologically, interview of 20 reporters working in online media and 5 editors will be conducted. To find out answers to the research questions the paper will analyse the interviews and the findings will be discussed using the agenda setting theory. and analyze the interview t find the answers for my research questions. Agenda setting theory will be used to find out the reason behind the inconsistency between the headline and the news contents in online media which is growing in the recent days.


Keywords: news headline, disinformation, online media, trust, journalist safety



  1. Philip Di Salvo: The entrance of encryption tools in the journalistic field



Internet surveillance has become a crucial issue for journalists all over the world. The “Snowden moment” (Hintz, Decik, Wahl-Jorgensen, 2018: 2) shed light on the risks journalists and their sources face while communicating online and showed how journalists themselves can be targets of eavesdropping operations (Lashmar, 2017). Despite the global debate around surveillance that exploded following the revelations of the NSA case, European countries have maintained, introduced, or reinforced their surveillance powers over the Internet, raising free speech concerns and fears over the possibility of effectively protecting journalistic sources in the digital age (Posetti, 2017). For the sensitivity of their work and sources, and given their strong “watchdog” role in democracies, investigative reporters are in a particular dangerous position when it comes to the chilling effects of surveillance over journalism. Thus, this paper will look at investigative journalists’ views and self-reflections on the impacts of Internet surveillance on their work by means of in-depth qualitative interviews with reporters working in Italy, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The paper will touch on different angles of the Internet surveillance issue, by analyzing journalists’ concerns over national and international surveillance programs, the effectiveness of legal safeguards available in their countries of reference and the technological strategies available to protect their work and to shield their sources. The sample will be composed by journalists members of investigative reporting initiatives such as the Investigative Reporting Project Italy, CORRECT!V (Germany), Atlastzo (Hungary), (Switzerland), The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK), and Civio (Spain). The paper will compare insights about the perceptions of surveillance by journalists in different national media systems (Hallin and Mancini, 2004) and in European democratic countries with different political scenarios and surveillance regulations. The results will outline both a typology of digital threats for democracies and journalistic institutions and a set of solutions and tactics already available to investigative journalists across Europe.



  1. Bora Ataman and Baris Coban: Rise of the cyclops in Turkey: Keeping journalists under surveillance



We live in the days when surveillance has become an ordinary occupation of almost everyone thanks to the Internet and social media. Lyon, speaks of a culture of surveillance where one enjoys watching another (2018). However, the issue means more than entertainment for states. For the so-called peace and prosperity of society, citizens should know that the paternal state is on the watch. In the days when democracies have weakened on a global scale, we are actually talking about a new formulation of the relationship between the state and the citizen. While global terrorism, immigration, economic crises and grassroots movements are the pretext of security policies that suppress freedoms, governments are increasingly become authoritarian. In such an environment, there is little room for the liberal approach to journalism, which has given the task of monitoring the powerful on behalf of the public and informing the citizenry about what is happening, since power holders do not like being questioned by journalists anymore.

This dislike then easily turns into anger, hatred and violence against the critical journalists in countries such as Turkey where democracy and media freedom has been shelved. As a result, critical journalists are personally stigmatized as traitors and even terrorists by the ruling power and other forces under control (like judiciary, armed forces and partisan media). In a sense, the state, which frees itself from being obliged to be transparent to its citizens, builds its own invisibility by applying legal and non-legal measures, where the state deprives all its ‘enemies’ of the right to privacy. The digital surveillance activities that we will focus on in this study are strengthened by the participation of civilian elements connected to the intense efforts of the relevant state institutions (Clark & Grech, 2017: 14). On the one hand, legal proceedings were initiated against critical journalists. On the other hand, under the influence of deep polarization in society, these people are lynched, threatened and become victims of hate crimes by the supporters of the ruling party who are mainly oriented by the government trolls.

In this study, by investigating the prosecution indictments for journalists, related media reports and news articles, we will expose the actors and methods in which digital surveillance is carried out. In addition, we will critically evaluate the feelings and thoughts of critical journalists about the journalism under surveillance, by drawing on liberal and alternative journalism theories. Finally, we will discuss some suggestions on what kind of measures journalists could take in the grassroots level against the top-down oversight of the state. This discussion will be guided by the previous work focused on both counter-surveillance (see Ataman & Çoban, 2018) and the journalists under surveillance (Council of Europe, 2019; Digital Rights Foundation, 2016; Mills, 2019; Pen International, 2015; Reporters Without Borders, 2017). After all, we argue that strengthening journalists by eliminating the effect of censorship and self-censorship, which are the consequences of malicious surveillance, means defending democracy against authoritarianism.



  1. Michelle Betz: Better Together? Opportunities and challenges for connecting media support and human rights organizations on issues of impunity and safety



The numbers tell the story: 321 human rights defenders killed in 2018 – the majority in Latin America (Brazil 23, Colombia 126, Guatemala 26, Mexico 48) and Philippines (39)1, 139 aid workers killed2 and 54 journalists3 (although the IFJ’s figures are higher: 95 journalists and media workers killed in 2018)4. Hundreds more of their colleagues around the world were threatened, harassed, kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and otherwise targeted simply because of the work they do – for their commitment to human rights, fundamental freedoms, providing information to their communities or providing life-saving aid and assistance to vulnerable communities. The perpetrators are rarely found or punished.


The risks that journalists and other media workers, humanitarians and human rights defenders face are usually the sam and despite similarities between these three sectors and issues of protection, safety and impunity, there has been little cooperation, coordination or other efforts to ensure safety of these workers or share best practices and lessons learned.


Mitchell (2019, p.238) makes a strong argument for the need for “closer collaboration by the international actors in the two regimes could bring some practical benefits for journalists and other HRDs seeking assistance, as well as contribute to shared knowledge, strategies and solutions that could potentially lead to improved protection in the long term”.


Indeed, Goal 16.10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms”, includes an indicator measuring the number of verified killings and other serious attacks on journalists, media workers and “human rights advocates” (UN 2016a: 22).


Despite this, there appear to be few efforts on a global scale. There have been, however, some national efforts at setting up national safety mechanisms. Brazil, for example, recently extended the range of the country’s mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders (originally set up in 2004 and attached to the Ministry of Human Rights) to include “communicadores” a term that in Brazil covers not only staff journalists but also freelancers, non-professional journalists and bloggers.5


This paper will examine the nexus, commonalities and opportunities regarding safety of journalists and human rights defenders and the fight against impunity, in particular those around the issues of prevention, protection and prosecution. It will also examine how the two sectors may be able to connect to achieve certain key SDGs. The paper will include a discussion of cases in which such collaborations are either being developed or are underway such as in Afghanistan, Colombia and Somalia. It is hoped that this paper will lead to further reflection of a partnership strategy for connecting the media support sector and the human rights and humanitarian sectors on the issues of safety and impunity at national, regional and international levels.




  1. Murat Akser and Banu Baybars-Hawks: Turkish Journalists and AKTrolling: How the Turkish Government Uses Social Media to Intimidate Journalists



The elections of June 2015 resulted in AKP’s loss of parliamentary majority. Through the President’s initiative the elections were held again in November 2015 and before this ‘repeat’ election new secret government trolling squads are formed targeting journalists. Ever since the 2015 elections the ruling party AKP in Turkey has been using trolling tactics against journalists whose reporting and newspaper comments can form negative public opinion against the Turkish government. The coverage of news items by targeted journalists include news from opposition party members, protesters of environmental and workers’ rights movements, students and workers looking for their rights. This paper focuses on the institutional and invidividual aspects of journalist intimation tactics developed by AKtrolls. The system of intimidation is now coordinated at the highest level (CIMER/Presidents Communication Office), through an NGO (The Pelican Group) and individual trolls on the government payroll. AKP MPs are also complecent and actively supporting these intimidation tactics as one cabinet minister accidentally revealed that he has a second, hidden trolling twitter account where he targets journalists reporting abuse by this department. The aim of this paper is to identify the criteria for being targeted by AKP trolls and some of the methods and rhetoric used to undermine the reputation of journalists during 2019 Istanbul municipal elections. The methods include false reporting and photo-defaming of the journalists and the hate speech including accusations of separatism, terrorism sympathy, Zionism and atheism.



  1. Anne Hege Simonsen & Ellen Hofsvang: No harm intended -placing colleagues in danger without meaning to do so



No harm intended -placing colleagues in danger without meaning to do soWhen a local story is picked up by international media giants, it may severely affect the safety of local journalists and their sources. This paper discusses one particular case from Nepal, where a young female journalist investigated the death of a young girl and found that the root cause was that she had been killed by a snake while isolated in a menstruation hut. Menstruation huts are illegal in Nepal but are still in use in remote areas.The story reached the BBC and was published internationally, causing the young journalist and her sources serious problems. In the paper we will discuss this case in light of the international safety framework for journalists (safety manuals, reports), as well as basic ethical principles in journalism. The aim is to identify the dangers of double standards within journalistic safety engagements.


  1. Umaru Pate: Safety Threats and Digital Security Needs in the Nigerian Media.



The changing nature of journalism practice involving extensive use of digital devices like mobile phones, laptops, emails, online services and lot more among Nigerian journalists and media has correspondingly exposed them to numerous risks and digital security threats with psychological and physical implications.  As they transit to emerging technologies in communication, the Nigerian media and journalists are increasingly and heavily depending on digital devices, which, researchers elsewhere3, have found to have rendered journalists vulnerable to targeted attacks and negative intended outcomes. Thus, this study assesses the safe use of digital devices in journalism and the precautionary measures put in place to protect and respond to possible digital security compromises in the Nigerian media. In doing so, the study examines the linkages between digital safety and psychological and physical safety as well as issues of online harassment in the country. The study finds that persistent digital threats, attacks and online harassment by different state and non-state actors are real in the country. And, often, many of such attacks translate into psychological trauma, economic losses, gender harassment and physical attacks on individual journalists and media houses. The threats are exacerbated by the Nigerian context which is characterised by general societal insecurity, intense political conflicts, ethno-religious conflicts, prevalence of violent crimes like kidnappings, drug trafficking and widespread corruption. The current environment has made practice of safe and professional journalism increasingly challenging compounded by rising organised digital attacks from multiple sources in and out of the country. The paper reviews measures adopted by journalists and media houses to enhance their digital safety, reduce possible attacks and strengthen defensive mechanisms.  It also evaluates the quality of digital security education in training schools and among professionals. The paper concludes with specific recommendations on adopting effective security measures at the personal and institutional levels to strengthen digital security measures in the industry.


Key Words: Digital Safety, Security Needs, Nigerian Media 



  1. Allen Munoriyarwa: Big Brother is watching: Surveillance, its effects and journalists response in Zimbabwe



Surveillance has notably increased in the last decades of modern society. Concerns of surveillance on our communities have escalated since Edward Snowden revelation of mass surveillance on the part of the USA National Security Agency. The effects of surveillance on journalism has naturally attracted scholarly attention in light of Snowden’s revelations. Research in the global north has shown that that journalists under real or perceived observation have altered their journalistic practices in different ways and have adopted strategies to counter the threats of surveillance (e.g. Mills 2018). Very little research has been conducted in Africa on the impact of surveillance on journalistic practices. This article analyses the effects of surveillance on journalists and journalists’ responses to it, in Zimbabwe.  State surveillance is increasing in Zimbabwe and journalists have been subjected to it in ways that have made the practice of journalism difficult. Part of the reason has been the advent of competitive politics that have left the ruling regime scrambling to limit freedoms to stop an opposition onslaught on its power. The paper utilises Pierre Bourdieu’s journalistic field as theoretical framing, focusing on the concepts of journalistic field and habitus to analyse how journalists negotiate the threats posed by surveillance. While most studies on journalistic practices focus on media organizations and their internal dynamics, field theory takes into consideration the relations between the newsroom and the journalistic field and between the journalistic field and the field of power (Schultz 2007:192). The study will be based on qualitative interviews with Zimbabwean journalists sampled mainly from the print media. The interviews will be subjected to thematic analysis.


Keywords: Surveillance, Journalistic Field, Zimbabwe, journalists




Session 4:

Anti-press violence



  1. Vera Slavtcheva, Sallie Hughes Jyotika Ramaprasad, Nina Springer, Abit Hoxha, Basyouni Hamada, Nina Steindl, Thomas Hanitzsch: Conceptualizing and measuring journalists safety around the globe



The unprecedented increase of lethal and non-lethal online and offline threats against journalists in recent years has led to growing concern about journalists’ safety. Empirical research on this very current and important topic includes relevant country-specific studies (e.g., Kim, 2010; Löfgren Nilsson & Örnebring, 2016; Preuß et al., 2017), comparative and global studies of lethal threats (Asal et al 2016; Bjørnskov and Freytag 2016; Hughes and Vorobyeva in press), and case studies focusing on specific forms of threats such as hate speech (Obermaier et al. 2018), sexual harassment (Ferreir 2019; Unaegbu 2017), and gendered cyber targeting (Adams 2017; Chen et al., 2018). However, systematic empirical research into journalists’ perceptions, experiences of and responses to threats is rare. Moreover, the field is theoretically underdeveloped (see as exceptions Cottle 2016; Hughes and Vorobyevka in press). To advance this topic conceptually, we propose a comprehensive framework to comparatively investigate safety threats and their impact on journalists as well as journalists’ resilience, coping strategies and resources.

We define threats as actions and conditions that increase the risk of physical, psychological, or occupational harm to journalists as human beings and as institutional actors (Brambila & Hughes 2019). Our definition encompasses physical, emotional/psychological, and occupational safety. We also distinguish direct from indirect threats; direct threats come from individuals or groups, and indirect threats arise from structures of oppression (e.g., patriarchy, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and savage capitalism) (see Brambila & Hughes, 2019). We argue that both direct and indirect forms of threats against journalists threaten their autonomy and compromise their ability to serve their respective societies. These actions against journalists can lead to occupational stress. While all journalists are likely to experience increasing pressures in their work, the World Health Organisation defines work-related stress as ‘the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.’ Autonomy, occupational safety and stress are closely interlinked because stress ‘is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues, as well as little control over work processes’ (WHO, n.d.). Successful coping processes create resilience (Lee & Cranford, 2008, p. 213), defined as a sustained process of “adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress” or put simply, ‘bouncing back’ (American Psychological Association, n.d.).


Our conceptual framework on journalists’ safety will take the form of an analytical grid that comprehensively captures forms of threats, journalists’ reactions to them, as well as resources available and strategies used to counter them. The aim is to be able to account for this important relationship between safety, stress and resilience, on the one hand, and safety, autonomy and role perceptions and performance, on the other hand. This grid will be translated into a model that can be tested empirically through a survey of journalists. Our presentation is a “sneak preview” into the third wave of the “Worlds of Journalism Study” (WJS) that will assess journalists’ safety in more than 100 countries.



  1. Rodrigo Véliz Estrada: US tutelage, Israel and journalists Human Rights in Guatemala



In November 2018, the Ministry of the Interior of Guatemala announced the signing of a public contract with the Israeli company ITD in order to receive advice on intelligence and espionage. This was in addition to the more than US$ 1.2 million delivered to the Israeli company Cellebrite for surveillance purposes, including the purchase of UFED Touch 2 equipment. The news about the contract came two months after the government of President Jimmy Morales Cabrera decided unilaterally to terminate the stay in Guatemala of CICIG, a U.N.-backed commission against impunity working in hand with local prosecutors, and the exile of  his commissioner, the Colombian Iván Velásquez.


Morales and his political party were charged by CICIG for illegal electoral financing in the 2015 elections. The expulsion of Velásquez and his team was Morales’s response. Proceeding those events, there was an increase in threats against journalists, human rights activists and local leaders, which raised alarms in national and international human rights organizations.

This has happened before in Guatemala’s recent history. Amid criticism for widespread corruption in General (retired) Otto Pérez Molina´s government, the Public Ministry attempted to procure  €450 thousand worth of surveillance equipment from Israeli company NICE Systems. The company was represented by Ori Zoller, an Israeli military (r) dedicated to the sale of AK-47 in Latin America. Their communications were hacked by Wikileaks and made public in 2016. The deal never materialized.


The link between corrupt governments led by military or pro-military presidents and Israeli companies was not accidental. In fact, it has historical roots in the Guatemalan genocide during the 1980´s. When viewed in detail, this relationship shows an interwoven network between Israel officials, the Guatemalan army, elite Guatemalan businessmen, neo-Pentecostal churches and conservative groups. Additionally, when the US has a Republican President, the relationship between Guatemala and Israel gets stronger. In combination, it sets forth conditions that disrupt challenges to impunity by orchestrating political offensives that erode democratic tenants.

The goals of the presentation/paper are to detail the history of these networks, describe the occurrence of human rights violations and other consequence for Guatemalan journalists and social leaders during the years in which the presidency of Trump, Jimmy Morales, and Benjamin Netanyahu coincided, and finally discuss the role of diplomatic and international political tutelage for countries like Guatemala.


  1. Suraj Olunifesi Adekunle: Digitalizing Mass Suppression: The Advent of Authoritarian Democracy and Mass Surveillance in Nigeria



Nigeria with a chequered history of military rule has in the past experienced the coercive force of state power, which was exercised through various security agencies. A predominant feature of this orchestrated oppression is the state surveillance of Nigerians. Despite the return to democracy, mass state surveillance persist as a political agenda of Nigerian government. According to an investigative report, the Nigeria federal government and certain State governors are illegally acquiring mass surveillance technologies to hack journalists’ gadgets and to “eavesdrop on targeted citizens’ conversations. For instance, in 2013, there was a newspaper report that the Federal Government of Nigeria awarded a security tender to an Israeli firm for the procurement of the Elbit Systems technology that would enable the government to intercept all internet activity, and to invade users’ privacy at will. Also, the leaked evidence from an Italian firm, Hacking Team, website also revealed the use of Remote Control System (RCS) as a suite of monitoring implants to hack computers and digital devices of Nigerian citizens by officials of the State Security Service. Moreover, according to CitizenLab (2013), Nigeria is among nations currently possessing surveillance technologies such as active FinFisher Command, Control servers, Blue Coat ProxySG devices and Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances with specific functionality permitting filtering, censorship, and surveillance of citizens. Justifying its poor rating of human right abuses and supporting the fact that technology itself can sometimes be a challenge to freedom of expression, the Nigeria Department State Security Service (DSS) sometimes in October 2016, made use of these surveillance technologies to track and arrest suspected judges notwithstanding journalists previously detained and arrested for their critical comments. Therefore, in light of the danger surveillance technologies poses to safety of journalists and civic activism, this study examines the implication of government mass surveillance on democracy and journalism practice in Nigeria. It also examines the attitude of Nigerian journalists towards the mass surveillance and the extent to which they perceive government mass surveillance as a threat to their safety. Specifically, it tends to address critical questions such as: to what extent is government surveillance a threat to press freedom and safety of journalist in Nigeria? How does Nigerian government deploy its digital mass surveillance as a tool of mass suppression? How are Nigerian journalists and digital activists protecting themselves, their sources and their work from intrusive and pervasive government mass surveillance? In what ways is government mass surveillance regime altering Nigeria democratic landscape and journalistic practices in preference to authoritarianism or dictatorship? Hence, using Bentham’s Panopticons, Foucault’s panopticism and deterrence theories as a conceptual framework, survey research method and stratified sampling techniques were employed to elicit responses from 350 Journalists and digital activists drawn from both electronic and print media in Nigeria using validated questionnaire. The responses were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences.



  1. Mubashar Hasan (Co-author: Mushfique Wadud): Re-conceptualizing Safety on Journalists in an Authoritarian Regime: The Bangladesh case



The dominant narrative regarding the evaluation of safety of journalists is built upon harassment and bodily harms such as incarceration and murder of journalists. While these pre-cursors (harassment, incarceration and bodily harms) are useful to understand the multitude of threats journalists are facing today, in Bangladeshi case we argue the parameters for evaluating what constitutes safety for journalists goes beyond conventional wisdom of safety of journalists. Based on in-depth interviews of 20 Bangladeshi journalists we re-conceptualize the idea of journalists’ safety. We argue that in Bangladeshi context, the concept of journalists’ safety embeds upon  three components: (a) avoiding bodily harm, (b) avoiding online and offline harassment and (c) applying self-censorship and in cases opting for embedded journalism to remain safe under an authoritarian regime where security apparatus and pro-government journalists  work in tandem to surveil and identify journalists  as ‘anti-state’, anti-government’ and ‘anti-national.’ We argue that in a hostile context like Bangladesh where public allegiance to the ruling party forms the bedrock of the idea of safety for citizens, it is close to impossible for journalists to remain safe and be objective. The impact of such journalist safety model has three severe impacts upon Bangladesh. First, public loses faith on journalism as they deem journalism is no longer an objective medium that upholds public interest. Second, a culture of fake news had emerged and finally, media do not play the role of 4th state in the country.


  1. Farid Abudheir & Hanadi Dweikat: Surveillance on Palestinian journalists’ use of digital communications with information sources: Dangers and countermeasures


Surveillance on media is an ongoing process by governments in all countries (UNESCO, 2017/2018). Journalists face obstacles in accessing information and publishing news, especially in sensitive issues (Ma’rouf, 2016). Surveillance includes monitoring journalists’ communications with information sources and gathering news mechanisms. Governments are aggravated by publishing news which considered as “harmful” for their policies and subsequently seek to prevent journalists from accessing sources of such information. Therefore, governments attempt in a way or another to control sources of “sensitive” information dealing with national security, corruption, and so forth (Arqoub, 2015).

In view that there has been diversification in communications avenues with information sources, thanks to technology (Lees, 2018), the challenge has become even vigorous, since governments invest more efforts in surveillance (Vinopal, 2018). Palestinian journalists live in exceptional circumstances in accessing information and publishing news. This is due to Israeli occupation on one hand, and the Palestinian Authority surveillance on the other (Amer, 2019). Israel established the military unit (so called: 8200 unit) for the purpose of monitoring the use of internet and social media by Palestinians. (Kane, 2016). On the other hand, the PA issued the Cybercrime Act in 2017 to regulate the use of internet in Palestine, which was considered by journalists and human rights organizations as crucial mean to control the freedom of press (Hamleh, 2017; Hamleh, 2018).


This paper is intended to deal with governments’ surveillance on Palestinian journalists’ communications with information sources. It is the first study of its kind in Palestine. It seeks to explore the extent of journalists’ fears in communicating their sources through advanced methods of communications, such as WhatsApp, Skype, and messenger. It also seeks to discover the possible alternatives they may use to protect their confidential sources, in an attempt to avoid subsequent dangers they might face.


The study aims at answering several major questions including: What kind of surveillance do Palestinian journalists experience in their communications with information sources? Do they use substitute venues to avoid such surveillance? Do they uses messages encryption, face-to-face meetings, or any other means to protect them? How surveillance influences journalism profession in Palestine?


We shall use the descriptive approach for this study, using questionnaire tool and in-depth interviews with a selected sample of correspondents to probe this phenomenon and conduct an in-depth analyses for the purpose of exposing surveillance on journalists’ communications and its impact on the journalism profession. The significance of this paper is to document this issue for the purpose of creating a reference for future research in this field. It is expected that governments may pay attention to negative consequences of surveillance on journalists on one hand, and to the peoples’ right of knowledge on the other hand. Overall, documenting such a kind of surveillance would help to maintain safety of journalists and guarantee their right to work freely in Palestine.


  1. Mesut Coskun: Journalism in times of crisis: Journalism on the coup attempt



The professional atmosphere which the journalists work in when performing this public profession is more of a crossroad meeting many factors rather than their own choice. ‘As a result of these multiple factors intertwining the images most reflected on journalism practices are noticed most in times of crisis.’ In the Turkish media atmosphere where risking your life is considered as natural , the working conditions and news production during  this 15th july 2016 coupe attempt is the subject of our study. At the end of episodes ,pro-coupe 104 soldiers , totally tree hundred people died, 1491 citizens get injured, 8036 different ranking soldiers arrested. Between the dates of 4 and 17 september 2016 in Ankara and Istanbul a deep interrogation was made with experienced journalists who worked on the field during 15th july and its following days shaped this study.The psychological and physical state of the journalists on the crisis day, family relations, professional relations, the journalism action in dangerous conditions, their ability to use communication technologies and their behaviour in the context of news ethics are revealed in this study.

Key Words: Journalism norms, crisis, coupe attempt 


  1. Gifty Appiah-Adje (Co-author: Admire Mare): Habitus of fear or self-censorship? An investigation into digital insecurities amongst journalists in Ghana and Zimbabwe



Ghana and Zimbabwe have different post-independence political and press histories. Ghana’s history is characterised by a chequered experience of military and democratic regimes. The country’s military regimes were associated with repression of freedom of expression and insecurity of journalists however, freedom of expression has been guaranteed under the current democratic regime. The constitution of the current democratic regime is generally described as guaranteeing the most elaborate provisions on press freedom in the history of the country. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the annual Press Freedom Index of Ghana has largely been classified as progressive and favourable in Africa. However, incidences of intimidation and systematic attacks on journalists by security agencies and party political activists have been recorded over the past couple of years. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has experienced a competitive authoritarian regime after independence till November 2017 when Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from Robert Mugabe. Under the 37 year rule of Mugabe, the media were significantly repressed and the safety of journalists was not guaranteed. A climate of fear and insecurity pervaded the polarized media landscape. Upon the military assisted transition, Mnangagwa has opened up significant democratic space for the media and journalists to operate although cases of harassment, intimidation and self-censorship continue to manifest themselves in a number of ways. This has enabled an improvement in terms of access to information and a decline in self-censorship but journalists continue to experience attacks and intimidation from security agencies and youth militia. Over and above, the issue of physical insecurity amongst journalists, there are documented cases of digital insecurities associated with fears around communication surveillance, mining of metadata and tapping of mobile phone conversations in Africa. For example, in example communication surveillance has been normalized and institutionalized in Zimbabwe, this has exposed journalists and their news sources to intrusive surveillance infrastructures. In Ghana, the news portal of myjoyonline was hacked in August 2019. It is important to note that literature has given more attention to the issue of physical security and safety of journalists in both countries, yet the increasing cases of digital insecurities have started to grab local and regional attention. This study, therefore, attempts to bridge this gap by exploring the level of awareness amongst journalists in Ghana and Zimbabwe. It also examines the strategies which are being deployed by journalists to circumvent the barriers associated with digital insecurity. Using insights from Bourdieu’s theory of the field and habitus, the study used a spatial case study design and a sequential mixed methodology to explore the awareness and the practice of digital security strategies of journalists/bloggers in Ghana and Zimbabwe. This study suggests that various digital threats like invasive communication surveillance, location tracking, and metadata retention have a “chilling effect” on the realization of press freedom. The study discusses various digital safety concerns facing journalists working in contexts that can be characterised as “surveillance societies” (Lyon, 2010). It demonstrates how journalists in both countries are changing their journalistic practices and routines in order to circumvent mass surveillance practices conducted by the state and telecommunications service providers. In the context of the habitus of digital insecurity, the study shows that the journalistic “field(s) of struggle” is characterised by a wide range of everyday forms of resistance against the ubiquitous surveillance. Besides foregrounding the impact of surveillance on digital insecurity on the practice of journalism in a liberal democratic state (Ghana) and a competitive authoritarian regime (Zimbabwe), this study argues that hybrid infrastructures of surveillance are also complicating news sourcing strategies as some of their sources are refusing to talk to journalists. Metadata retention and mandatory SIM card registration laws in both countries are making it difficult for news sources and whistle-blowers to trust electronic communication with journalists. It will also look at how journalists from different African newsrooms are adapting to and resisting communication surveillance in both countries.



  1. José Luis Benítes: Journalism and digital safety: Challenges for journalists and educators in Central America



This paper focuses on the Central American region, specifically in the following countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. This region has faced several challenges on the Safety of Journalists, limitations to press freedom and freedom of expression. Journalists in these countries are now experiencing new forms of digital aggressions, attacks, threats, censorship and self-censorship in platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

In Guatemala, the International Commission Against the Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has documented some of these digital attacks and its implications for impunity in the 2019 report: “Bots, Net Center and the Fight Against Impunity. The Guatemalan case”. In El Salvador, the new elected president Nayib Bukele and most of his presidential cabinet are using Twitter and social media to communicate with the public and journalists; meanwhile some critic journalists are victims of digital threats and aggressions by allegedly Bukele´s supporters in social media.

Journalists and human rights defenders in Honduras are also targets of digital attacks and smear campaigns in social media, especially in the current context of social protests against the president Hernández in the context of reports about his allegedly complicity with drug trafficking organizations. On the other hand, Nicaragua currently faces the most difficult situation for journalists and independent media, particularly since April 2018 when a serious political crisis exploded. Several journalists have fled the country, and those remaining in the country encounter a variety of governmental limitations and repression. Likewise, Nicaraguan journalists report new mechanisms of digital aggressions and attacks, particularly by the current president Ortega´s followers.

In this difficult context of new forms of digital aggressions against journalists, this paper addresses two key research questions:

  1. What are the measures Central American journalists adopt in order to cope with this phenomenon of digital aggressions and attacks?
  2. What are the strategies that educators at the university level in these countries are using to train journalism and communication students in the area of digital safety?

The methodology includes the revision of references, academic papers and reports related to this topic, and interviews with journalists and educators from these Central American countries. In the conclusion, I outline the main findings of this research and some recommendations on how the universities can strength and promote an integral training approach on the Safety and Security of Journalists in this region.


  1. Lubna Zaheer: Freedom of expression under threat: A case of Pakistan



Pakistan is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in world for journalists. Pakistani journalists have to face threats, harassments and false cases; they are killed, injured and detained. Particularly, the journalists work in conflict areas are often targeted by militant groups for not promoting militants’ views. Also because of the Afghanistan war, the areas bordering Afghanistan are the most risky zones for journalists. In Pakistan, many journalists have lost their lives while undertaking dangerous assignments. In addition, various political, religious, ethnic and other pressure groups as well as the law enforcement agencies also target the journalists. Although different governments intended to do legislation for providing protection to the journalists, however, proper laws could not be introduced. For that reason, Pakistan is ranked as the fifth worst country in the world in terms of the number of unresolved cases of violence against journalists. This paper presents an in-depth analysis of whole situation, especially, the kind of pressures/threats Pakistani journalists have to face. Insofar as methodology is related, in-depth interviews of senior journalists, editors and media practitioners have been taken and analyzed. At the end, this research study also suggests the safety measures that must be ensured in order to ensure the protection of journalists.


Key words: Pakistani media; violence against journalists; political pressures; military regimes; media and war on terror; conflict areas, Afghan war, sectarian pressures, religious pressures, and war zone