• Call for abstracts: 

    The research group MEKK at OsloMet’s safety of journalists conference, 2024:

    Safety of journalists in the coverage of political elections/ Safety of journalists in war

    We are happy to announce that we are now accepting abstract submissions to the tenth annual Conference on the Safety of Journalists. The conference, organized by MEKK in cooperation with UNESCO Norway and the Fritt Ord Foundation, is held annually during the first week of November in conjunction with the UN’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. This year, it is scheduled for October 31st and November 1st, 2024.The annual MEKK conferences have become an important meeting place for professionals and organizations in the field of journalist safety. Academic partnerships including papers, workshops, and books have come about from bringing together practicing journalists, educators and researchers at these conferences.

    The 10th annual conference on journalist safety will address two main themes: journalists’ role in the largest election year in history and their coverage of war and conflict.

    Track one: Safety of journalists covering elections and political developments

    2024 is being called the biggest election year in world history as 2.6 billion people go to the polls in over 50 countries worldwide. Journalists play a crucial role in ensuring that the public has access to relevant information as they prepare to cast their votes in countries such as India, Brazil, Mali, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, and the United States, to name a few. Reporters Without Borders stresses how political pressure is a crucial challenge for journalists worldwide in their 2024 report launched May 3, 2024. In several countries, voters may end up giving power to candidates who aim to tighten democratic rights, and the journalists who cover the election campaign and elections will face many challenges.

    Journalists must not be threatened, targeted with attacks or prevented from reporting freely at any time. We call on governments to take extra measures to protect journalists’ safety and to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and access to information, including during electoral periods. These two fundamental human rights are critical to the functioning of democracy (Tawfik JelassiUNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communications and Information). 

    Track two: The role of journalists covering war and conflict

    The conflict in Gaza presents an unprecedented danger to journalists, as highlighted by the Committee to Protect Journalists.. Nasser Abu Naker, leader of the Palestine Union of Journalists, attests to the immense suffering endured by media personnel in Gaza, surpassing any previous experiences. Despite these challenges, journalists persist in their reporting duties, demonstrating remarkable resilience. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine continues, claiming the lives of media workers, while journalists face threats and violence in numerous other global conflicts and wars.

    “When we lose a journalist, we lose our eyes and ears to the outside world. We lose a voice for the voiceless,” Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 2024 

    In addition to papers that examine the safety challenges of journalists covering political elections, wars or conflicts and which explore measures for improvement in this area, 

    we are open to new academic work that explores any issue of journalist safety.

    We welcome abstracts of up to 250 words and a short bio to be uploaded to this secure online form by August 16, 2024. Please include your full name, institutional affiliation, and email. There is no registration fee, and participants are expected to cover their own costs for travel and accommodation.

    A limited number of scholarships to cover flight and/or accommodation is available for PhD students and researchers from low-income countries. Applications for scholarships should be submitted with the abstract together with a short CV and information about nearest airport etc. The best papers will be considered for a forthcoming peer-reviewed publication.

    For any questions, please contact