Experiences of decolonization of higher education

The 6th of september the MEKK-group, together with Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) & The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), held a seminar to share, discuss and present different experiences on decolonization of higher education. Present at the seminar was the Network of Indigenous, Intercultural and Community Universities (RUIICAY) from Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and also Goretti Nasanga, Professor at the Journalism & Communication Department, Makerere University.

Both the RUIICAY network and Makerere University participate in the NORAD program NORHED (an abbreviation of the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development). This programme was launched by Norad in 2012. The overall goal for the RUICCAY network is to strengthen the autonomy of indigenous, afrodescendants and other vulnerable ethnic peoples for effectively exercising rights and promoting inclusive, equitable and intercultural development in Latin America. At the conference they presented, among other things, the CRISAC method (Cultivo y Crianza de Sabidurías y Conocimientos), a method developed by the indigenous universities.

Background for the conference

Four years ago, the protest movement #Rhodesmust fall, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, revived the movement to decolonize higher education. The movement was not only about removing old statues that symbolized the suppressing legacies of the past, but most of all about working to undo colonizing practices and ensure better access, participation and attainment of different groups of students and lecturers.

The cry to decolonize higher education quickly spread to several other African countries as well as the rest of the world and inspired discussions on what decolonization involves and what the restrictions are. In his seminal article “Decolonizing the Universities: New Directions”, Achille Joseph Mbembe asks for instance what are the limits placed on the ‘decolonization’ project by the forces of neoliberalism.

The harder I tried to make sense of the idea of ‘decolonization’ that has become the rallying cry for those trying to undo the racist legacies of the past, the more I kept asking myself to what extent we might be fighting a complexly mutating entity with concepts inherited from an entirely different age and epoch. Is today’s Beast the same as yesterday’s or are we confronting an entirely different apparatus, an entirely different rationality – both of which require us to produce radically new concepts?  (Mbembe, 2016).

Furthermore, as decolonization is also considered to be about conditioning a context that is “receptive to cultural affirmation reclamation, and self-determination” (DuBois, 2019), institutions of higher education are also considered to play an important role in decolonizing societies. Hierarchies of knowledges exist both among/between states and within borders among and between nations, peoples and groups.

When we discuss decolonising the academy, we are talking about power, and more specifically power hierarchies. So, we are discussing unevenly distributed power when it comes to defining knowledge, which inevitably leads to skewed knowledge, to incomplete knowledge” (Erdal 2018).

The Conference ‘Experiences of decolonization of higher education’ aims at offering an arena for continuing such discussions. Following Freire, the conference proposes dialogue and dialogic action to share and discuss practical experiences of decolonization of higher education.

El mayor NASA José Heli Baltazar, de UAIIN Cauca Colombia held a seremony to show gratitude to mother earth, the soil, the sun and the moon at the beginning of the seminar.


The two coordinators of the MEKK research group, professor Kristin Skare Orgeret and professor Roy Krøvel, gives a warm welcome on behalf of the Norhed program, OsloMet and the MEKK group.













• Alta Hooker Blandford is the rector of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast and coordinator of the Network of Indigenous, Intercultural and Community Universities of Abya Yala



Goretti Nasanga, Professor at the Journalism & Communication Department, Makerere University
A conversation about toolkits for decolonizing higher education and research organized by SAIH with: Nixon Yatacue, Universidad Autónoma Indígena Intercultural UAIIN, Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, sami researcher at OsloMet, Gerardo Simbaña, Pluriversidad Amawtay Wasi, Ecuador and Kristin Gregers Eriksen, University of South-Eastern Norway
«Bring Your Privilege» organized by PRIO with: Cindy Horst, Research Director PRIO (moderator) Rebecca Scherr, Associate Professor of English, University of Oslo Anders Breidlid, Professor OsloMet Warsame Ali, Researcher at Unit for Migration and Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health Rahwa Gebrekidan, president of the African Student Association at the University of Oslo, and a student of International Relations
Luis Fernando Sarrango Macas, rector Universidad Intercultural de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos Indígenas "Amawtay Wasi"
Luis Fernando Sarrango Macas, rector Universidad Intercultural de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos Indígenas “Amawtay Wasi”
Panel on Higher education, extractive industries & climate change: Lasse Bjørn, board member of Nature and Youth (NU), vice-president Oslove Noereh, Yamile Nene, UAIIN Colombia and Pablo Ceto, rector Ixil university Guatemala and former presidential candidate URNG

Safety workshop in Sheffield

Høiby, Journalist safety trainer, OsloMet

Addressing Global Challenges to Journalism and Press Freedom

The International Summer School (24 June – 28 June 2019) at the Sheffield Hallam University aim to equip a new generation of media professionals with awareness of occupational safety. The programme is relevant to all future journalists, and especially those who plan to work in the global media industry in the future.

MEKK member Marte Høiby held a workshop at the International Summer School together with, among others, UNESCO director Guy Berger and UNESCO chair Jackie Harrison.

Høibys workshop was about the threats and dangers that journalists often experience in covering certain topics, especially investigative journalism. She focused on tools to assess the threats associated with various journalistic missions and methods of mapping own forces.

Jackie Harrison, UNESCO Chair in Media Freedom
Guy Berger, UNESCO, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO


Here is a link to the Complete program

Pictures by Lada Price

Kristin Skare Orgeret has accepted the invitation from Saba Bebawi, Eddy Borges-Rey and Bruce Mustvairo to be part of a new book series Palgrave Studies in Journalism and the Global South as a board member.

Members of the International advisory board will help identify new topics for commissions, approach potential authors/editors and provide expert advise on the direction for the book series
The series will publish two books per year starting 2020. 

Era or Error of Transformation? Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation

Together with Bruce Mutsvairo and Massimo Ragnedda, MEKK member Kristin Skare Orgeret organized the IAMCR preconference Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation.

18 great presentations – very promising for the coming special issue of Information, Communication and Society. The preconference was held at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Era or Error of Transformation? Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation

While the continent of Africa has long been depicted as economically and socially underdeveloped compared with other parts of the world, the potential of its peoples, natural resources and nations has always been recognised. In recent years however, it is the transformative capacity of digital communications media, particularly mobile phones, for young urbanised populations that is seen as heralding sustainable socio-economic growth and political stability. To read more: https://iamcr.org/madrid2019/era-or-error-transformation

Call for abstracts: 5th annual conference on the Safety of Journalists – Digital Safety

Call for abstracts – Research Group MEKK’s 5th annual conference on the Safety of Journalists – Digital Safety

Oslo November 6, 7 and 8th 2019

The conference will take place in Oslo on November 6, 7 and 8th 2019 in connection with UNESCO’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists at OsloMet University and The Freedom of Speech Foundation (Fritt Ord), Norway.

The conference is organized jointly with the The Fritt Ord Foundation and with support from The National Commission for UNESCO and Digital Journalism Research Group.

Safety for journalists, including digital safety, is a matter of public concern that is wide-ranging. It is vital for those who practice journalism, for their families and for their sources. It  is  essential  for  the  wellbeing  of  media  institutions,  civil  society,  academia  and  the  private sector more broadly. If we value the free flow of information for citizens, their governments and their international organisations, then the safety of journalists is central (Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO).

Electronic  communications  of  news  media,  critical  bloggers,  and  other  individuals  or  organizations  disseminating  information  have  become  targets.  The danger emanates from various sources ranging from State-based actors to third parties. There is digital surveillance  that  goes  beyond  international  standards  on  privacy  and  freedom  of  expression. There is hacking of data and disruptive attacks on websites and computer systems. More extremely, some media actors are being killed for their online journalism. From 2011-2013, 37 of the 276 killings of journalists condemned by the UNESCO Director General were killings of journalists whose primary platforms were Internet-based. Many, if not most, of the other journalists who were killed also used digital tools in their daily work, which may have exposed them in various ways. (Jennifer R. Henrichsen et.al. Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues. 2015).

Journalists need to know more about the dangers of digital attacks such as hacking and surveillance, and should take steps to protect themselves, their sources, and their work. Journalism researchers and educators need to know more about how the dangers to digital safety work in relation to journalists’ security and freedom of expression in general.

The 2019 annual conference on the Safety of Journalists will focus on digital safety but also invite papers discussing other aspects related to the safety of journalists. We invite paper presentations discussing topics such as (but not limited to)[i]:

  • Surveillance and mass surveillance
  • Software and hardware exploits without the knowledge of the target
  • Phishing, fake domain, Denial of Service and Man-in-the-Middle attacks
  • Intimidation, harassment and forced exposure of online networks
  • Disinformation and smear campaigns
  • Confiscation of journalistic work product
  • Data storage and mining
  • Education and training
  • Legal issues and policy making
  • Culture and gender issues
  • Working conditions and media production
  • Source protection and the digital era
  • Hate speech, defamation and libel
  • Impunity
  • Journalist roles and fixers
  • NGOs and the safety of journalists

The conference will be organised as a mixture of key note speakers, working groups, panels and paper presentations.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Muthoki Mumo. Sub-Saharan Africa Representative. Committee to Protect Journalists. Formerly a journalist with the Nation Media Group and alternate digital editor for the Business Daily in Kenya.


  • Silvio Waisbord. Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. His most recent book is “Communication: A Post-Discipline” (Polity, 2019). He is past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Press/Politics.


  • Guy Berger. UNESCO, Director of Media Freedom Division


  • Olivia Martin. Digital Security Trainer at Freedom of the Press Foundation. A graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, her professional work focuses on researching and delivering digital security trainings to journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.


  • Neena Kapur. Currently a senior information security analyst at The New York Times, where she researches and implements security solutions to combat modern threats targeting journalists and the media industry. Neena previously worked as a cyber threat intelligence analyst, where she researched cybercriminal activity. At the conference Kapur will share her team’s experience creating and running a doxxing education program at The New York Times. She’ll cover why doxxing is a threat to journalists, recommended tools and techniques for cleaning up your online footprint, and the process that the New York Times Information Security team went through to build this program within their newsroom.


  • Leandro Demori. Executive Editor The Intercept Brazil. Demori is also the author of La Cosa Nostra in Brazil: The Story of the Mafioso that Took Down the Empire (Companhia das Letras, 2016) and is a board member of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji). In the 2000s, he was an editor of the award-winning independent blog A Nova Corja (The New Scum), considered one of the “blogs of the decade” by O Estado de São Paulo newspaper.


Paper presentations:

If you want to participate with a paper, an abstract of maximum 500 words and a short bio focusing on possible earlier experience with research/practice in the field of safety of journalists/digital safety should be sent to safetyofjournalists@oslomet.no before August 15, 2019. Please include your full name, institutional affiliation, and email. There is no registration fee and the 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 Ph.D. students and researchers from low-income countries. Applications for scholarships should be submitted with the abstract together with a short CV.

The best papers will be considered for a forthcoming peer reviewed publication.


[i] See Henrichsen, Jennifer R., Betz, Michelle, Lisosky, Joanne M. Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues. UNESCO 2015 for a more detailed list of digital challenges.

World Press Freedom Day & the Academic Conference

For UNESCO’s celebration of at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, OsloMet and MEKK were proud hosts of the Academic Conference on Safety of Journalists together with University of Makerere.
The Academic Conference was organised in cooperation with UNESCO and the Universities of Sheffield and Malaga.
Professor Kristin Skare Orgeret and Dr William Tayeebwa opened the conference.


Panel from left to right: Arne Jensen, President of Norwegian Editors Union; Per Elvestuen, Director of Oslo Freedom Forum and cartoonist; Elin Floberghagen, Norwegian Press Association; and Sidsel Avlund, from the Norwegian Public Broadcasting, responsible for journalist safety.

Today 3rd of May, on the World Press Freedom Day, the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at OsloMet held a seminar discussing the freedom of speech in both a Norwegian and an international context. Professor Rune Ottosen presented the situation for journalists on an international level with increased violence, murder and harassment against journalist.

The Norwegian context was discussed through a panel debate with the participation of Arne Jensen, President of Norwegian Editors Union; Per Elvestuen, Director of Oslo Freedom Forum and cartoonist; Elin Floberghagen, Norwegian Press Association; and Sidsel Avlund, from the Norwegian Public Broadcasting. Even though Norway rank high on the World Press Freedom Index, the whole panel agreed upon that also in Norway we now face increasing threats against journalists. Avlund highlighted the situation in the Norwegian Public Broadcasting, NRK, where as much as 29% of the employees have experienced harassment. However, as Avlund stated: what worries us the most, is that the journalists keep silent.

Not reporting on the problems, keeping information to themselves, is a huge challenge if we want to stop censorship and self-censorship.



World Press Freedom Day 2019

The main celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2019 will take place in Addis Ababa, from 1 to 3 May 2019. The event will provide a platform for multiple actors to exchange on current issues, threats and achievements concerning freedom of the press.

The overall theme of the event will be the role of media in elections and democracy. A wide range of sessions (plenaries, debates, lightning talks, etc.) will address different aspects of the overall theme.

Some 100 national events around the world are expected to complement the main celebration.

MEKK is represented with professor Kristin Orgeret Skare and PhD fellow Marte Høiby.

Orgeret will open the Academic Conference on the Safety of Journalists on Wednesday.

Full program:


Seminar på pressefrihetens dag

SKUP – Investigative Journalism

The Norwegian Foundation for a Free and Investigative Press (SKUP, Stiftelsen for en Kritisk og Undersøkende Presse) held its yearly conference this week-end (29.03-31.03). SKUP is an association established in 1990, dedicated to promoting investigative journalism in Norway. SKUP organizes an annual weekend conference for investigative reporters and editors in Norway.

International participants from the master course Global Journalism: Conflict, Safety and Peace at OsloMet participated at this years conference. The participant are from Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Uganda, and several of them are TV and radio reporters.

The SKUP-conference is held every year and invite both investigative press from Norway and abroad. The focus of the conference is on how to share work, methods and ideas on investigative journalism.