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Webinar: Voices at Risk – Journalist Safety during the Super-Election Year

Webinar: Voices at Risk – Journalist Safety during the Super-Election Year

Date: 29.02.2024

Time: 1:30pm GMT / 8:30am ET

Languages: English / Spanish 

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While millions around the world cast their ballots in this super-election year, journalists will be there to cover the elections. In doing this they will undoubtedly face increased arbitrary arrests, delegitimising smear campaigns, legal threats, and physical assault.

How can we protect journalists so they can continue to provide the vital information we need for free and fair elections?

Join our webinar with the International Women’s Media Foundation to hear from journalists and civil society organisations about the threats they face during elections and the strategies and resources available to protect them!

2024: Journalism in the Super-Election Year 

A record-breaking 40+ countries, representing more than 40% of the world’s population are holding national elections in 2024. Journalists play a vital role in covering elections and keeping citizens informed, but they face serious risks in the process. In a world fraught with polarisation, mis- and disinformation, journalists covering political events are even more exposed to retaliation. UNESCO recently reported that from January 2019 to June 2022, 759 media workers in 70 countries were attacked during election reporting. Almost half of the attacks were by law enforcement agents. During this pivotal year for democracy, many journalists will undoubtedly face arbitrary arrests, delegitimising smear campaigns, legal threats, and physical assault.

Additionally, while the internet has in many ways revolutionised voter engagement, technological advances are also being used to undermine elections and disarm dissent. Internet shutdowns, online violence, digital surveillance and cyberattacks are weaponised during election cycles. This greatly impacts journalists’ ability to share vital information and jeopardises the integrity of elections. Gendered disinformation has also increasingly been wielded against women journalists, especially in election periods.

The webinar

What impact do these threats have on individual journalists and freedom of expression during election periods? What strategies and resources are there to help protect media workers and press freedom? How can we learn from different regional approaches and ideas?

In this webinar we will hear the first-hand accounts of journalists and expert civil society organisations from across the world. The webinar will provide a platform for a cross-regional exchange on the threats journalists are facing during this super-election year, along with strategies for ameliorating them. This discussion aims to increase awareness of the importance of journalist safety during elections and emphasise how media workers are at the forefront of the struggle for democracy.

This webinar is a collaboration between Media Defence and the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Moderator 

Wiebke Hangst, Legal Officer Media Defence.

Speakers

Nadine Hoffman, Deputy Executive Director, IWMF

Since joining the IWMF in 2010, Nadine has spearheaded the organization’s expanding safety and security work, overseeing the creation of physical and digital safety training opportunities as well as growing emergency assistance efforts. As an expert in journalism safety, Nadine understands the unique challenges gender diverse journalists experience – and the resources needed to meet these challenges head-on.

Quimy De León, Historian, journalist, and researcher.

Quimy has extensive experience in human rights research and issues related to business, environment, gender, and transitional justice. She is also the Founder of Prensa Comunitaria and Ruda in Guatemala.

Prasanth Sugathan, Lawyer and Legal Director at Software Freedom law Center, India (SFLC.IN)

Outside of being the Legal Director at SLFC, Prasanth is also a guest lecturer for the Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Law & Cyber Forensics course at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. His areas of practice include technology law, Intellectual property law, administrative law and constitutional law. He is an engineer turned lawyer and has deposed before Parliamentary Committees on issues related to Information Technology Act and Net Neutrality. He has also spoken at various national and international conferences on Freedom of Speech, Privacy, Net neutrality and cyber security. 

Papa Ismaila Dieng, Journalist and Advocacy Officer at AfricTivistes, Senegal.

AfricTivistes is a pan-African organisation based in Dakar, Senegal. AfricTivistes is the union of bloggers and web-activists of the continent to promote and defend democratic values, human rights and good governance through digital platforms.

AFRICTIVISTES was created in November 2015 with the mission of networking all the actors of change in Africa to bring concrete and appropriate solutions to the major issues that hinder the democratic development and unity of the continent.

About the organisations

Media Defence: We are the only organisation who’s core mission is to provide legal help to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media across the world. In the last 15 years we have provided legal support to 10oo’s of journalists across 117 countries. We defend freedom of expression and journalist safety through our emergency legal support, strategic litigation, lawyer trainings and funding local media defence centres. If you are a journalist facing legal threats for your work, we can help.

International Women’s Media Foundation: The IWMF is the sole global organisation built to serve the holistic needs of women and non-binary journalists. We are a bold and inclusive organisation that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide.

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