Covering religion, what are the best practices?

A day before IPI World Congress 2014 officially started, IPI in collaboration with the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue organised a one-day working meeting to get journalists and media experts to discuss pressing issues regarding the way religion is covered in the media.

There is a perception among many religious leaders that religious communities and religious beliefs are misrepresented in the news media and online so … what do the experts have to say? Watch our video report of the meeting to know more!

Covering religion has become a difficult and sensitive topic in journalism. KAICIID Dialogue tackled the main issues that journalists face in countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, and many more.

The participants gathered in three teams where they analyzed an article from The Christian Post about Muslims and Christians.

The teams concluded that journalists need to avoid labeling a person from his religious affiliation and instead use his title. Furthurmore, when writing an article, the journalists need to include more than two varied credible sources.

The workshop also discussed the newsrooms vital role in governing it’s journalists. Aidan White, Director of Ethical Journalism Network, said, “good coverage of religious affairs requires well-informed, open-minded journalists and editors” regardless of their personal beliefs.

IPI Executive Director’s report: the state of press freedom worldwide

Watch our exclusive interview with Alison Bethel McKenzie, Executive Director of IPI.

Today, on the opening day of the 2014 World Congress, IPI launched launched its Director’s Report: The State of Press Freedom Worldwide. McKenzie looks back at the state of press freedom in 2013 and shares her observations with us.

According to IPI, 119 journalists killed in 2013 and 20 have already been killed or died in the line of duty in 2014.

IPI Congress ’14: The opening ceremony

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The International Press Institute World Congress kicked off this morning on April 13th 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The decision to organise the 2014 edition IPI World Congress in the legislative capital of the rainbow nation is highly symbolic: in February 1994, Nelson Mandela, who had been released from Robben Island jail three years earlier, gave a speech at the opening of the 1994 edition of the IPI World Congress.

Two months later, on the morning of April 14th 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Mandela became the first black President in South Africa, ending years of brutality and racial discrimination under the apartheid regime.

Executive Director of IPI, Alison Bethel McKenzie, emphasised the strong historical ties that continue to exist between her organisation and the hosting country of its 2014 Congress:

“Twenty years ago, IPI held its World Congress in South Africa in part to celebrate freedom, but also to show that we stood on guard to defend those freedoms everywhere in the world”.

“Twenty years ago, South Africans knew all too well the tricks that oppressors use to silence a free press. Back then, the transformation to a multiracial democracy had not yet taken place. South Africa had a brand new constitution when this Congress last met here, but it was untested and one too many laws restricting press freedom remained on the books … and do so to this day”.

McKenzie honoured all South African journalists “brave enough to fight the injustice of apartheid” including two journalists present in the room: Mathatha Tsedu, a former reporter former editor of the City Press Newspaper and Raymond Louw, veteran reporter and former editor and publisher of the Southern Africa Report.

McKenzie’s opening speech was preceded by an intervention from South African Deputy Minister at the Department of Performance and Monitoring Obed Bapela who reminded delegates that a free press in his country is as important today as it was 20 years ago. They key role of journalism, he continued, is to educate, expose wrongs, ensure access to information and support South Africa young democracy.

Quoting Nelson Mandela, Deputy Minister Bapela said” “a critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy”.

South African Bishop Desmond Tutu sent a video to congratulate IPI and remind all delegates about the importance of free speech and press freedom.

(IPI video)

IPI World Congress 2014

We will be covering IPI World Congress’ 14 from April 12-15 In the coming 4 days, a group of 3 Junior Reporters will be covering the International Press Institute World Congress 2014. After taking place in Amman, Jordan for its 2013 edition, IPI Congress will kick off tomorrow in Cape Town, South Africa for another very interesting round of discussions with international media experts, press freedom activists and journalists. Our 3 Junior Reporters are:

  • Mrs. Zena Loulou, a Palestinian student studying journalism at Qatar University. Zena will be doing live tweeting on our Twitter account (@DCMFJR) and writing reports for the blog!
  • Mr Ramy Khalaf, an Egyptian student studying at Qatar University too and very active as a video producer with various agencies in Doha. He will be producing video reports to keep you updated on the congress.
  • and Osama Suliman, a graduate student in journalism who now works as assistant producer in Doha. Like Ramy, Osama will be producing video reports featuring interviews and session summaries for all of you who have missed out on the Congress!

Please make sure you talk to the 3 Junior Reporters who will be wearing special vests during the Congress to share your experiences with them and the rest of the world! Have a happy IPI World Congress everyone!

About us

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Hello and welcome to our blog!

We are a group of students supported by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), a press freedom organisation based in Qatar, to cover international media events where DCMF is represented.  As young aspiring journalists, we call ourselves “Junior Reporters”.

DCMF launched this project back in 2011 with UNESCO international celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Tunis, Tunisia.

The contribution of the junior reporters was so successful that DCMF decided to repeat the project at iPI World Congress in May 2013 in Amman, Jordan and at UNESCO Global Forum on Media and Gender in December in Bangkok, Thailand.

This desire to give students an opportunity to cover high-profile events about media development and press freedom is part of DCMF’s broader efforts to promote youth media literacy.

DCMF media literacy efforts are also complemented by trainings of teachers and students in schools across the Middle East and advocacy efforts with government institutions and educational institutions. Since its launch in 2011, DCMF has trained more than 600 students.

We hope that you will enjoy reading this blog and benefit from our live coverage of numerous international media conferences.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@DCMFJR) and Instagram (DCMFJR)!