New book out: Journalist Safety & Self-Censorship

Journalists Safety and self-censorship explores the safety of journalists and self-censorship practices around the world, including local case studies and regional and international perspectives.

Bringing together scholars and practitioners from around the globe, Journalist Safety and Self-Censorship provides new and updated insights into patterns of self-censorship and free speech, focusing on a variety of factors that affect these issues, including surveillance, legislation, threats, violent conflict, gender-related stereotypes, digitisation and social media. The contributions examine topics such as trauma, risk and self-censorship among journalists in different regions of the world, including contributions exploring issues of self-censorship in Central America, Estonia, Turkey, Uganda and Pakistan. The book also provides conceptual clarity to the notion of journalist self-censorship, and explores the question of how self-censorship may be studied empirically.

Combining both theoretical and practical knowledge, this collection serves as a much-needed resource for any academic, student of journalism, practicing journalist, or NGO working on issues of journalism, safety, free speech and censorship.

This book comes out of the 4th Annual Conference on the Safety of Journalists in 2018 where “The chilling effect” was discussed by scholars and journalists from around the world. In the Call for Papers for the 2018 conference we asked: How can you talk about self-censorship? How can you know that self-censorship exists? What can make journalists better equipped to secure themselves without having to tie themselves up and jeopardize freedom of speech? What role do state authorities or journalist associations play here?

In the book Journalist Safety & Self-Censorship you can read contributions from José Luis Benítez Journalism and self-censorship in the insecure democracies of Central America, Sadia Jamil Red lines of journalism: Digital surveillance, safety risks and journalists’ self-censorship in Pakistan, Nhamo Anthony Mhiripiri Chilling or cosy effects? Zimbabwean journalists’ experiences and the struggle for definition of self-censorship, Aytekin Kaan Kurtul Lèse-majesté and journalism in Turkey and Europe, Olunifesi Adekunle Suraj Online surveillance and the repressive Press Council Bill: A two-pronged approach to media self-censorship in Nigeria, Marte Høiby The “tripple” effect silencing female journalists online: A theoretical exploration, Signe Ivask A way to silence journalists? Estonian female journalists’ experiences with harassment and self-censorship, Aisha SembatyaNakiwala Perceptions of risks and the negotiation of safety among Ugandan female journalists covering political demonstrations, Michelle Betz & Paul Beighley Fear, trauma and local journalists: Implications for media development and peacebuilding, Florence Namasinga Selnes Safety and self-censorship: Examining the linkage to social media use among Ugandan journalists, Gerald Walulya Defending the watchdog: How local NGOs build journalists’ resilience by combating threats to their safety and security & Ingrid Fadnes, Roy Krøvel & Anna Grøndahl Larsen (Ed) Introduction: Safety for journalists and self-censorship & Conclusion: Researching self-censorship caused by inadequate safety of journalists. Causes, solutions and future research















from Ingrid Fadnes, Roy Krøvel & Anna Grøndahl Larsen

World Press Freedom Day 2020

Photo: Heriberto Paredes
Mexican Journalists gather to show their resistance agains the impunity for crimes agains journalists after the killing of the mexican photographer Rubén Manuel Espinosa Becerril (2015). Photo: Heriberto Paredes

World Press Freedom Day 2020

The Institute for Journalism and Media studies and the research group MEKK at OsloMet had planned our yearly activities in relation to the World Press Freedom Day. However, as COVID19 is preventing all physical meetings and events, we would like to share some important news and initiatives to mark this important day.

May 3 was in 1993 declared by The United Nations General Assembly to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day, observed to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


As part of the 2020 celebration of World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO is releasing a preview of a forthcoming study on media independence.

#PressFreedom: Journalists struggle to work free from fear or favour, new UNESCO study says

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of free and independent media in reporting verified information to the public and in holding public authorities to account.

Yet, as the preview of a new UNESCO study assesses, in recent years the news media have faced increased challenges to editorial independence. This is especially through ‘media capture’ in which media are skewed by private and state groups that abuse systems of regulation, ownership, advertising and finance.

The resulting damage to the integrity of editorial independence has compromised the ability of many media workers to provide the public with vital information.

The culmination of these and other controls means that journalists seeking to follow professional standards have to stave off pressures and attacks from external actors as well navigate power in their own outlets

While the study shows how threats to professional independence have intensified, it also highlights the multiple efforts and initiatives that have proven successful in safeguarding independent journalism, and provides recommendations for all stakeholder groups.

It underlines the importance of journalists standing up for professional standards, particularly in the context of disinformation.

The full study, titled Reporting Facts: Free from Fear or Favour, will be published later this year as an In Focus edition of the series World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

From Reporters without Borders (RSF):

In the run-up to World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is publishing exclusive interviews by Philippine journalist Maria Ressa with Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub, whistleblower Edward Snowden, Nobel economy laureate Joseph Stiglitz and RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire on the subject of “Journalism in crisis: a decisive decade.”

See all the interviews here

Online discussion

on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context (May 4)

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every year on 3 May, UNESCO and its Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, will host an online discussion on the importance of free media in providing the public with reliable independent information, vital in times of crisis. The High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context, will be streamed online on Monday 4 May, 5pm Central European Time (GMT +2).

UNESCO’s flagship event of World Press Freedom Day will bring together UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, journalist Younes Mujahid, President of the International Federation of Journalists, Maria Ressa, investigative journalist from the Philippines, founder of the Rappler news website, and the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, alongside a number of other high level participants. Prominent Mexican-born American journalist Jorge Ramos will moderate the debate.

Prize to Colombian journalist

The MEKK research group would like to congratulate the Colombian investigative journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima who has been named as the laureate of the 2020 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on the recommendation of an independent international jury of media professionals.

Jineth Bedoya Lima’s reporting has focused on the armed conflict and peace process in Colombia and on sexual violence against women. Ms Bedoya Lima was herself a victim of sexual violence in 2000 when she was abducted and raped in connection with an investigation into arms trafficking she was conducting for daily newspaper El Espectador. Three years later, while working for the daily El Tiempo, she was kidnapped by militants of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“The courage and commitment of Jineth Bedoya Lima, doubly exposed to unacceptable risks as a woman and as a journalist, inspire profound respect,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “We need the work of professional and independent journalists.”

Call for papers: Safety of journalists – Risks, Resistance, Resilience

Call for Papers

The 6th international conference on the

Safety of journalists – Risks, Resistance, Resilience

OsloMet, Norway

The conference will take place on digital platforms and in Oslo (if possible) on November 2, 3 and 4th 2020 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.

Attacks on journalists is a growing problem globally and threats and violence against journalists affect freedom of expression and the public sphere in many ways.  For the sixth consecutive year, the research group MEKK at OsloMet University organizes an international conference to address the safety of journalists.

This year’s conference will focus on examples of “resistance” and “resilience”, in addition to risks related to certain topics and/or working in specific geographical, social or/and political contexts. “Resistance” could mean both fighting back as well as the refusal to accept or comply with something and/or the ability not to be affected by something. The concept may also be linked to organizations in resistance. In terms of the concept of resilience, it is often assumed that a person with good resilience has the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress than someone whose resilience is less developed. Greater resilience is often associated with the ability to self-organise, and with social learning as part of a process of adaptation and transformation. Looking at risk, resistance and resilience opens up for discussions from different angels and concrete experiences.

The aim of the conference is to increase the knowledge about measures that can improve the situation for journalists and journalism, whether it is what the individual journalist can do to protect herself, alone or in groups, and collective and structural measures to protect journalists and put an end to impunity. Perhaps a combination of resistance and resilience can be the way forward? Perhaps a better understanding of risks helps making it possible to build collective resilience? We believe this focus can lead to useful learning across borders and contexts. Case studies of resistance and/or resilience are welcome. Furthermore, we open for deliberations of more general safety issues for journalists by inviting papers discussing topics such as (but not limited to):


  • Collective action to enhance the safety of journalists
  • Cross border initiatives to improve safety
  • Self-education and organisation as means to make journalism safer
  • The role of the UN and UNESCO in protecting journalists
  • Safety training for journalists and the role of safety trainers/organizations
  • Fake news and disinformation as a threat against journalism
  • Media ownership and safety of journalists


For the last five years a large number of scholars and journalists have participated at the annual safety conferences at OsloMet in Norway. The conferences have been organised as a mixture of key note speakers, working groups, panels and paper presentations. As we are now facing a global pandemic crisis where travelling and gathering is difficult, and may be so for quite some time still, we have started to think of some possible alternative scenarios and solutions for the 2020 conference. We will think of possible virtual solutions for paper presentations and key notes.


Papers can be submitted using this form:

Please include an abstract/description (max 250 words), short bio, and a profile picture.

The deadline is August 17, 2020.

There is no registration fee.

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

If you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact:







Safety Handbook for Women Journalists in Arabic

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), in cooperation with Journalism & Media International Center (JMIC) at OsloMet, has launched an updated Arabic-language edition of the Safety handbook for Women Journalists, that was produced with the support of UNESCO, entitled “What if”.

The Arabic edition of the handbook charts a path to safety for women journalists. Through eleven titles – on risk assessment, profile management, gendered based violence and harassment, travel safety, digital safety, equipment safety, crowd management, kidnapping, detention and psychological safety, social and ethical safety decisions, dealing with survivors and coverage of epidemics like the coronavirus – the handbook urges women journalists to reduce risks and protect themselves from all forms of threats.

The handbook is written by Abeer Saady, Vice President of IAWRT; a journalist and professional safety expert – who has trained hundreds of women journalists in conflict areas across the world. The English Edition is edited by Nonee Walsh and the Arabic one by Emad Nasif.

Fredsnasjonen Norge?

MEKK-medlem Rune Ottosen, professor emeritus ved OsloMet storbyuniversitetet, statsviter, journalist og faglitterær forfatter deltok i februar på Kongsberg Fredslags arrangement om Norge som fredsnasjon. Norge er et av de landene i verden som oftest deltar i krig utenfor eget territorium, og dette skjer nesten uten offentlig debatt til tross for at flere av krigene ikke har vært hjemlet i Folkeretten. Ottosen har i flere år skrevet om Norges deltagelse i krig og om medias dekning av den. Han siste bok, Libya – krigens uutholdelige letthet, kom ut i 2019.

Ler mer om møtet her

Fake news i Koronaens tid

Fake news i Brasil

«Trump har endret vår måte å tenke på. Strategien er å lyve så mye at folk ikke vet om du lyver», sa økonomen Joseph Stiglitz på en konferanse på OsloMet i mars 2019. Å lyve så mye at folk ikke vet at du lyver eller når du lyver, å komme med uttalelser for like etterpå å trekke dem tilbake, eller å bagatellisere medias håndtering av presidentens uttalelser, eller å lage nyhetslignende saker basert på løgn, er alle en del av pakken kalt «Fake news» i Brasil.

Mekk-medlem Ingrid Fadnes har skrevet om hvordan Brasils president, Jair Messias Bolsonaros, strategi med å destabilisere media, parallellt med å spre falske nyheter, skaper et svært ustabilt Brasil i møte med COVID 19.

Les hele kronikken her

MEKK at the HUMAN documentary film festival

Photo: Sebatian Dahl, Human
©, Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


MEKK member Ingrid Fadnes was invited to moderate a conversation about the current situation in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) at this years HUMAN Rights & HUMAN Wrongs International documentary film festival. In several cities in Central America, the humanitarian situation is similar to what we see in wars. Murders, extortion, kidnappings, rape, forced recruitment to criminal gangs, terrorization of communities, huge economic costs, drug trafficking and impunity have led to a humanitatian crisis in many areas in Central America. It affects access to basic health services, minor infections become life threatening and infant mortality increases. This violence is a major cause of the refugee flow towards Mexico and the USA. The panel conversations was between Loretta van der Horst, director of the screened movie Behind the Blood, Morten Tønnesen-Krokann, Senior Advisor at Red Cross Norway & Ingrid Tjoflåt, nurse with experience from Red Cross hospital in Honduras.

Radio Silence, Mexico
Behind the Blood, Honduras








Fadnes also presented the movie Radio Silence from Mexico at the film festival. Radio Silence concerns the safety and security for journalists working in Mexico. The film tells the story of the mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui who was fired from the radio station where she has worked for years in 2015. Supported by more than 18 million listeners, Aristegui continues her fight. The film tells the story of this quest: difficult and dangerous, but essential to the health of democracy. A story in which resistance becomes a form of survival.

Masterclass at the festival

The mastercourse in Investigative Journalism and Cross Border Cooperation at OsloMet organized three masterclasses with filmdirectors and investigative journalists in collaboration with the Human documentary Film Festival.

One masterclass was with Petr Lom, a documentary filmmaker, currently residing in The Netherlands. He has a PhD from Harvard University, USA and had a position as Associate Professor at The Central European University when he decided to become a filmmaker in 2003. Lom has made several films, the latest is Angels on Diamond Street screened at the festival.

Another masterclass was with the investigative journalist Ruth Hopkins and her current projects on the security company G4S. Hopkins is an award winning investigative journalist, based in South Africa. She worked as a journalist and editor with the Wits Justice Project in Johannesburg from 2012 – 2018, producing content about wrongful convictions, lengthy remand detention, police brutality and various other criminal justice issues. Together with director of the film Prison for Profit, Ilse van Velzen, they talked about their project revealing grave workers’ rights and human rights violations committed by the private security company G4S.

The last masterclass was with the norwegian film director Tonje Hessen Schei and her lastest project on Artificial Intelligence. Schei made the award winning film Drone in 2014 and her newst film iHuman will be screened on cinema around the world this spring.

Ruth Hopkins in Masterclass
Ruth Hopkins in Masterclass


Rethinking Safety of Journalists


Media and Communication is out with a special issue on Rethinking Safety of Journalists. The editors are Mekk-member Kristin Skare Orgeret, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway & William Tayeebwa, Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University, Uganda.

The issue gathers nine articles on subjects as safety training, censorship, online harassement and more.  All of the authors have also participated at the Annual Safety Conference for Journalists organized by the MEKK group at OsloMet.

The MEKK-members Marte Høiby (Reconsidering Journalist Safety Training) and Trond Idås (#MeToo, Sexual Harassment and Coping Strategies in Norwegian Newsrooms) have also contributed to this issue.

Link to issue (Free download)

Lansering og debatt om ny bok: Giskesaken – og hvordan vi får #metoo tilbake på sporet

Boklansering onsdag 26. mars i Oslo med Kristin Skare Orgeret, Anja Sletteland og Espen Aas, NRK
Boklansering onsdag 26. mars i Oslo med Kristin Skare Orgeret, Anja Sletteland og Espen Aas, NRK


MEKK-medlem Kristin Skare Orgeret lanserte boka “Giskesaken – og hvordan vi får #metoo tilbake på sporet” som hun har skrevet samme med Anja Sletteland onsdag 26. februar. Boka, hvor forfatterne forsøker å sortere og å analysere hele pressedekningen av varslersakene mot Aps tidligere nestleder Trond Giske, har sparket i gang debatten om blant annet kildeutvalget.

Lytt til forfatterne i podcasten med Marie Simonsen

New publication: Women and Election Activism in Uganda

Chapter by Kristin Orgeret Skare and Florence Namasinga Selnes in Social Media and Elections in Africa, Volume 2:

Women and Election Activism in Uganda: The Pads4Girls Social Media Campaign


This chapter draws on experiences from Uganda to interrogate social media’s potential to facilitate women’s participation in electoral processes. By taking the Pads4Girls campaign in the aftermath of the Ugandan 2016 election as a case, the chapter examines how social media can contribute to political change and electoral democracy. Social media’s potential in public communication has been demonstrated during elections globally and in heightened political situations in Uganda. Some of the most vibrant debates in Uganda were on Facebook and Twitter during the 2011 and 2016 elections and their aftermath. The data were collected through analysis of Facebook content about the Pads4Girls campaign and interviewing. The chapter builds on debates about media and gender and argues that social media facilitate conversation on electoral matters but their role depends on the context within which they are applied. The Pads4Girls campaign ended with the imprisonment of its architect over cyber harassment.

LINK to chapter