World Trends Report launched in Oslo

The second edition of UNESCO’s report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development was launched in an academic seminar at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus (HiOA) in Norway last week.

A panel of experts, moderated by Prof Kristin Skare Orgeret commented on aspects related to the World Trends report, which includes a digital focus on hate speech, protection of journalism sources and the safety of journalists.

Aina Landsverk Hagen, a researcher specializing on hate speech and freedom of expression, spoke about the unchronicled misogenistic harassment of women journalists on the internet.

Prof Elizabeth Eide said that when harassment was recognised it could be addressed, but this should not be left to the affected individual to have to deal with alone.

From the Norwegian Union of Journalists, Trond Idås, spoke about his doctoral research which showed that post-traumatic stress amongst journalists was very much related to the ethical dilemmas they had to confront.  

Because journalists were not used to feeling that they were victimes, their stress was seen as a weakness and was not well researched.  There was a need for newsrooms to provide better preparation, recognition and support, he said.

Osman Kibar, investigative journalist specialising in surveillance and cyber security at Dagens Næringsliv, commented on fast-moving trends of digital dangers facing journalists. If a journalist’s security was compromised initially, it did not help to then take special steps for sensitive stories, he said.

Summarising the World Trends report, Guy Berger – UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development – highlighted its uniqueness as a holistic and authoritative UN assessment, covering developments over a five year period. The next edition would be published in 2017.