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Attacks of Journalists in South Africa inhibit future coverage

By Theodora Theodory, MA-student, OsloMet

Nechama Brodie

During the 8th International Conference on Safety of Journalists conducted at OsloMet it was revealed that journalists in South Africa are facing physical attacks which prevent them from covering news effectively.

Speaking during the paper session Nechama Brodie from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa said that journalists in South Africa are vulnerable while working in crime areas.

The most shocking observation of her study is that in about 7 out of 10 incidents investigated there are one to two female journalists among them. This poses an unanswered question to the study.

She adds despite what happened, journalists in South Africa are still showing their bravery and persistence in their work. However, their fear is still evident.

“ Although journalists put on brave faces and insist that these crimes will not deter them from seeking out or covering stories in the future, it is evident that there is some degree of deterrence,” said Nechama Brodie.

As a result, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists recommended that journalists should research the area before going to cover news, avoid showing off their cameras, avoid working at night, and set up safe working spaces. The question remains: What is the future of media coverage of events without safety?

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Psychology of Trauma and Safety

By Caroline Malewo, MA-student, OsloMet

Dr. Elana Newman

On the second day of the International conference on the safety of journalists, Dr. Elana Newman from the University of Tulsa and Reserch Director for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma presented a keynote on the psychology of trauma and safety: Issues tools and resources for solidarity and self-reliance.

Elana Newman told us that between 85-100 percent of journalists cover significant trauma and the average number of work-related traumatic events ranges from 4 to 81. 

She explained that knowledge of trauma is important to journalists because it helps them to make better news coverage and choices. It also reminds journalists to act sensitively and ethically with their sources.

Elana said knowledge of trauma to journalists, forms healthy journalists, who then report healthy journalism that promote healthy democracy which in the end leads to press freedom.

Elana Newman said “Distress is not a terrible thing, I want to challenge journalists to see emotions as part of data collection because when you know your feelings, you can be an objective journalist”.

She reminded the audience that a resilient journalist is one that practices solidarity and self-reliance but also one that is well-rested.

She concluded by encouraging journalists to build and sustain both professional and social networks, to look for resilient role models, to be a supportive colleague, and to keep the mission forefront.

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Speaking Truth to an Authoritarian Power

By Caroline Malewo, MA student, OsloMet

In the paper session entitled ‘Censorship: Speaking Truth to an Authoritarian Power’, being part of the 8th conference of the Safety of Journalists at OsloMet University, Mulatu Moges gave a reflection on the safety of journalists in Ethiopia. 

He expounded that, in 2018 Ethiopia was in transition and experienced media freedom at a higher level which paved a way for the increase in the number of journalists forums, media developers and media engagement. 

Mulatu Moges explained that the situation changed after 2019 where all media, either public or private ones in Ethiopia began to face various challenges in their reporting on any topic, not just on political stories. 

In Ethiopia between 2021 and 2022 two journalists were killed, sixty three mainstream media and thirty nine online journalists were jailed.

According to Moges, the main challenges that journalists face in Ethiopia include the absence of laws advocating for the safety of journalists, political constrain, lack of unity, and the absence of strong journalistic associations for the safety of journalists.

He concluded by saying “Now the media in Ethiopia is polarized both politically and ethnically which poses a question on the actual existence of freedom of expression”.

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Speaking truth to an authoritarian power

By Caroline Malewo, MA student, OsloMet

During the paper session titled Censorship: Speaking truth to an authoritarian power at the 8th Conference of the Safety of Journalists at OsloMet, Deniz Demir presented on how Turkish journalists defend themselves against police violence. She elaborated that Police violence against journalists on Kurdish and Independent media continues to increase and has reached its highest level now since 2013.

Journalists continue to face verbal, psychological, economic and physical violence 

and the expectation of justice is shaped by the axis of recording the violence experienced. The situation makes it difficult for journalists to file complaints.

Deniz told us that although there are methods used by journalists to protect and cooperate with each other in the field, these are far from institutional methods and the reaction of journalist unions against police violence is considered weak and inadequate and in some cases discriminatory.

Deniz emphasizes on a strong need to restructure journalism unions and organize journalists around those unions against police violence. She said “Unions respond by speaking out more and taking direct action”.

Deniz concluded by saying “So we have to be in solidarity. There are those who were beaten, there are those who are in prison, we need to cooperate. As with all segments of society, only solidarity can keep journalists alive. Solidarity of institutions, solidarity of individuals with each other.” 

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Safety of journalists covering the war in Ukraine

By Theodorah Munisi, MA student OsloMet

Per Christian Selmer Anderssen, Tetiana Kozak, Olena Maksymenko and Oleksandra Hrybenko discussing the Safety of Journalists in the Ukrainian War, 1. November 2022.

The 8th International Conference on the Safety of Journalists at OsloMet, with a theme of ˜Solidarity and Self-reliance for improved safety of Journalists’, had an opportunity to have a panel discussion with some Ukrainian Journalists who shared their experiences
on the risks they face during the Ukrainian War.
Several journalists are said to be attacked and killed even when not in the fighting fields. Tetiana Kozak, a Ukrainian journalist says journalists in Ukraine have to ensure their safety in this time of war, journalists are forced to carry medical kits, masks, and helmets while getting close to the fighting zones.

The journalist assumes that the Russians’ fear of truth being told by the journalists makes them to coercively attack the journalists deliberately, several journalists have been attacked and stopped while making coverage of the war. The safety of journalists is said to be at stake in Ukraine now to both Ukrainian and foreign journalists. This calls for a need of improved safety of journalists through solidarity
and self-reliance.

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The Safety 22 Conference is opened

The conference was opened by the General Secretary of the Norwegian UNESCO commission Tanja K. Hegge and Rector of OsloMet, Christen Krogh.

Here is Christen Krogh’s post from the opening session:

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Safety of the Journalists conference 2022

We are looking so much forward to this year’s conference!

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The legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize to Press Freedom

Julie Posetti and Kristin Skare Orgeret reflect on the meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, 12 months (and a war) later. 

Nobel laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo 10th December 2021 (Picture: AFP Photo)

Read the piece ‘The Nobel Peace Prize for Press Freedom: A Year in Review‘ published by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

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NORPART students at international seminar

The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK- Dir) organised a two days seminar at OsloMet on the NORPART programme 21-22 September 2022.

The seminar was opened by Edle Hamre from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and OsloMet’s Rector Christen Krogh.

Under the heading ‘Global academic cooperation enhancing the quality of higher education. The importance of exchange and multiple perspectives in a rapidly changing world’, the five NORPART MA students shared their experiences together with professors Kristin Skare Orgeret and Roy Krøvel.

The five NORPART students shared their experinces with a large, international audience

The five NORPART students arrived in Oslo in August to take their MA degree at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. They are Christine Kabazira and Nelson Bahati from Makerere University, Uganda and Theodora Theodory, Caroline Malewo, and Theodorah Munisi from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The five students talked about challenges and possibilities in relation to student exchange and shared some of their personal impressions on differences and similarities between being a student in Uganda, Tanzania and Norway. In addition to the five full degree students a number of MA-students will take a ‘Oslo semester’ at OsloMet every spring semester the coming years.

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Freedom of Expression Conference in Oslo

Maria Ressa outside the Nobel Peace Center

Since the Nobel Peace Prize 2021 was awared the brave journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov last December, the Nobel Peace Center has organized a series of seminars on journalism and freedom of expression. The research group MEKK has participated with some planning and implementation. The series of seminars culminated in a large Freedom of Expression Conference at the Peace Center on Friday 2 September, where Nobel Peace Laureate Maria Ressa was present, while Muratov participted digitally from Moscow (due to Gorbachev's death). 
Ingrid Stoplestad, Amnesty, Maria Ressa and Bruce Mutsvairo
Bruce Mutsvairo from the DD-MAC project took part in the panel 'Without Truth' with Maria Ressa, and there was a number of other interesting participants who presented and discussed such as Khadija Patel, IPI; Christophe Deloire, RSF; Staffan Lindberg V-Dem; Peter Pomerantsev, Frances Haugen, Julie Posetti, Alexandrea Geese and more. 

Please find the entire conference HERE