International summer school to improve safety for future journalists

A new international summer school at Sheffield Hallam University will equip the next generation of journalists to safely tackle complex legal and ethical challenges.

The course is designed to guide students on staying safe whilst reporting in potentially hostile situations, accessing credible information, assessing the nature of risks they may face. There will also be discussions around the values of free and independent journalism.

During the summer school you will learn how to plan for reporting in potential hostile situations, how to access credible information, how to assess the nature of the risks they may face and be familiar with legal and ethical challenges. At the same time participants will learn about the values of free and independent journalism.

The week-long summer school will be open to undergraduate and postgraduate journalism students, young people over 18 with an interest in studying journalism, and those studying journalism related subjects such as press relations or politics.

Course leader for the summer school and the MA international journalism course at Sheffield Hallam, Lada Price, said: “Independent journalism has never been more important and in many parts of the world, a free press either does not exist or is under threat. Reporting from the world’s trouble spots is more dangerous than ever, as journalists are increasingly seen as valid targets in conflict.

Understanding the nature of the pressures and dangers journalists in the field face is vital for a proper understanding of journalism itself. Our summer school is the perfect opportunity to consider these crucial issues.”

The programme follows an initiative led by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), which aims to support education institutions to develop projects and curricula focused on safety and impunity in journalism.

Guy Berger, Director of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, said: “Journalists need to be free of fear of attack if they are to speak truth against the power of emotion-driven disinformation and associated intolerance. When journalists need bodyguards in order to do their work, it should prompt us all to stand up for press freedom.”

The summer school has been organised in collaboration with the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) at the University of Sheffield. Chair and Co-Founder of CFOM, Professor Jackie Harrison, was awarded the UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity last year.

Speaking about the summer school, Professor Harrison said: “Journalists face unprecedented attacks, both lethal and non-lethal, around the world, and those who seek to stifle their freedom to report, often do so with impunity.

“It is vital that that these crimes against journalists are made known and especially that future generations of news providers are aware of the dangers that they may face when reporting in potentially hostile situations. This international summer school has an excellent range of speakers who will address these issues and many more.”

Taking place between 24 and 28 June, the programme will consist of individual and group work, with a mini-project to be presented at the end of the week, as well as a range of guest talks and seminars.

Several discussion panels and keynote speaker events are open to the public, including a panel on women in journalism and a discussion on media capture.

There is no tuition fee for this summer school.

The summer school has been funded by the Global Engagement Curriculum Innovation programme which is part of the University’s GoGlobal fund, aiming to support curriculum-based innovations to internationalise the student experience.

Click here for more information about the summer school and to book free tickets for the public events.

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