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  2. Artificial intelligence has yet to develop the common sense required to identify fake news. (Shutterstock)Disinformation has been used in warfare and military strategy over time. But it is undeniably being intensified by the use of smart technologies and social media. This is because these communication technologies provide a relatively low-cost, low-barrier way to disseminate information basically anywhere. The million-dollar question then is: Can this technologically produced problem of scale and reach also be solved using technology? Indeed, the continuous development of new technological solutions, such as artificial intelligence (AI), may provide part of the solution. Technology companies and social media enterprises are working on the automatic detection of fake news through natural language processing, machine learning and network analysis. The idea is that an algorithm will identify information as “fake news,” and rank it lower to decrease the probability of users encountering it. Repetition and exposure From a psychological perspective, repeated exposure to the same piece of information makes it likelier for someone to believe it. When AI detects disinformation and reduces the frequency of its circulation, this can break the cycle of reinforced information consumption patterns. Artificial intelligence can help filter out fake news. (Shutterstock) However, AI detection still remains unreliable. First, current detection is based on the assessment of text (content) and its social network to determine its credibility. Despite determining the origin of the sources and the dissemination pattern of fake news, the fundamental problem lies within how AI verifies the actual nature of the content. Theoretically speaking, if the amount of training data is sufficient, the AI-backed classification model would be able to interpret whether an article contains fake news or not. Yet the reality is that making such distinctions requires prior political, cultural and social knowledge, or common sense, which natural language processing algorithms still lack. Read more: An AI expert explains why it's hard to give computers something you take for granted: Common sense In addition, fake news can be highly nuanced when it is deliberately altered to “appear as real news but containing false or manipulative information,” as a pre-print study shows. Human-AI partnerships Classification analysis is also heavily influenced by the theme — AI often differentiates topics, rather than genuinely the content of the issue to determine its authenticity. For example, articles related to COVID-19 are more likely to be labelled as fake news than other topics. One solution would be to employ people to work alongside AI to verify the authenticity of information. For instance, in 2018, the Lithuanian defence ministry developed an AI program that “flags disinformation within two minutes of its publication and sends those reports to human specialists for further analysis.” A similar approach could be taken in Canada by establishing a national special unit or department to combat disinformation, or supporting think tanks, universities and other third parties to research AI solutions for fake news. Avoiding censorship Controlling the spread of fake news may, in some instances, be considered censorship and a threat to freedom of speech and expression. Even a human may have a hard time judging whether information is fake or not. And so perhaps the bigger question is: Who and what determine the definition of fake news? How do we ensure that AI filters will not drag us into the false positive trap, and incorrectly label information as fake because of its associated data? An AI system for identifying fake news may have sinister applications. Authoritarian governments, for example, may use AI as an excuse to justify the removal of any articles or to prosecute individuals not in favour of the authorities. And so, any deployment of AI — and any relevant laws or measurements that emerge from its application — will require a transparent system with a third party to monitor it. Future challenges remain as disinformation — especially when associated with foreign intervention — is an ongoing issue. An algorithm invented today may not be able to detect future fake news. A BBC report on the dangers of deep fakes. For example, deep fakes — which are “highly realistic and difficult-to-detect digital manipulation of audio or video” — are likely to play a bigger role in future information warfare. And disinformation spread via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Signal are becoming more difficult to track and intercept because of end-to-end encryption. A recent study showed that 50 per cent of the Canadian respondents received fake news through private messaging apps regularly. Regulating this would require striking a balance between privacy, individual security and the clampdown of disinformation. While it is definitely worth allocating resources to combating disinformation using AI, caution and transparency are necessary given the potential ramifications. New technological solutions, unfortunately, may not be a silver bullet. Benjamin C. M. Fung receives funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), but the topics of the grants are irrelevant to the topic of this article. Sze-Fung Lee does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. View the full article
  3. When a staffer at the independent media website Iwacu in the central African state of Burundi tried to visit the outlet online in late October, they received an error message instead. “Hum. Nous ne parvenons pas à trouver ce site;” the site could not be found – even though the local media regulator had promised to unblock it in February. A report published in August found Burundian networks using technology from Chinese company Huawei to block Iwacu and other news sites. The report was funded and published by PrivacyCo, the parent company of privacy research and advice website Top10VPN.com. Co-authors Valentin Weber and Vasilis Ververis, PhD candidates at the University of Oxford and Humboldt University of Berlin respectively, told CPJ in a recent video call about their research tracking Huawei equipment known as middleboxes to internet networks in 72 countries, 18 of which were using the devices to block news or other websites. (Weber has since joined the German Council on Foreign Relations as a cyber research fellow.) In Cuba, the report found the sole state-controlled internet service provider ETECSA using Huawei technology to block independent news website Cubanet, among others; authorities in Cuba have subjected Cubanet and its journalists to frequent restrictions. Readers can bypass blocks using virtual private networks (VPN), but many news outlets must shift their work to other sites or social media. In Egypt, a number of outlets have gone out of business after being blocked. Middlebox devices can examine the packets of data that facilitate browsing and communication using a process called deep packet inspection. DPI has benign, even essential functions, like making connections faster or caching content for future access, but it can also be used to manipulate or filter information, the authors said. In the wrong hands, a middlebox could divert visitors to a rogue website designed to steal passwords or install malware, for example. Such intrusions are hard to detect, but the 18 countries in the report acknowledge blocking – notifying users via their browsers that the content they are trying to access is restricted – making censorship a starting point for researchers to assess whether countries are using middleboxes to undermine human rights, according to Weber and Ververis. Glenn Schloss and Rob Manfredo of Huawei’s U.S. corporate communications team acknowledged CPJ’s request for an interview when the report was initially published, but did not subsequently respond to emailed questions. The interview with Weber and Ververis has been edited for length and clarity. You describe Huawei’s middleboxes performing “online behavior management” – where does that term come from? Weber: It comes from Huawei marketing material relating to a specific middlebox, the ASG5000 series. We found it in a Chinese language source, so it’s our translation, but I think it matches the capabilities well – it can detect traffic and act on it, managing the behavior of [internet] users in various contexts and venues. Why are you concerned about the security implications of middleboxes on national networks? Weber: Important traffic is flowing through these devices but the policies [for the data Huawei receives from them] sometimes weren’t clear – what happens to the data, or whether it can be transferred further. For different continents or territories, we found a database location – in Mexico for Latin America for example – but you wouldn’t know what happens once the data is transferred there. Ververis: An analogy for a consumer would be a cleaning robot that sends data to the vendor about the dimensions of your house. Hopefully it’s in good faith, but I would not be surprised if that data was being sold or analyzed [for other purposes]. Should individuals on a network be concerned that a middlebox could access private information, or passwords, for example? Ververis: Usually you should not be worried when you’re visiting websites, especially websites that use some kind of encryption or secure layer [like HTTPS, which prevents others from reading or intercepting information exchanged between a reader and the websites that they visit]. We all know that you shouldn’t connect to open WiFi, [but instead] use a VPN or Tor [on untrusted networks], and [log in to accounts with] two-factor authentication. But it’s difficult to protect against a strong adversary. Let’s say you’re a journalist on a network that you don’t trust. The network can gain a lot of information from your connectivity, and middleboxes can [be used to facilitate a cyberattack]. How did you detect that these middleboxes were being used to block websites? Ververis: We use open data from the Open Observatory of Network Interference, which collects network measurements from volunteers all over the world. When you’re sending and receiving a request from a web server you get back some metadata, and we were able to find the specific Huawei tag added to these responses. That might reveal the device, the model, sometimes the version. The middlebox we found had already been found in 2017 OONI research on Cuba. It’s only possible to do this research if the data is provided openly, the way OONI does. Other entities like Cloudflare and Google, or the transparency reports from social media companies, don’t help researchers and journalists find out what’s going on. You found 18 countries blocking content with middleboxes, up from seven in an earlier study you did in 2019. What does that suggest? Ververis: We have more data from OONI now than before, but censorship has [also] been increasing. It’s actually quite surprising that [so many countries] use the same device, so there may be more to unpack there – whether it’s cheap, or easy to deploy, we don’t know. Is Huawei providing maintenance on these devices or facilitating how they are used? Ververis: In general, infrastructure [used by internet service providers] should be maintained by the vendor. You usually pay for a license to keep using it [for a specified period]. Weber: The devices report back to the vendor, sending error notices and other information, so the manufacturer might be incentivized to act on that, for example to provide software updates. We also expect that Huawei is likely to provide keyword lists or broad categories for blocking to the customers. Your report found websites in the news and media category were among those most subject to blocking – what do you take that to mean? Ververis: News and political advocacy were among the higher categories, though in some countries we have much more data than in others. There are [also] other [blocking] methodologies. In Cuba, they still use the Huawei middlebox, but they’re also deploying something else. Either it doesn’t have a tag or it’s the same equipment that’s been changed, or, most probably, other devices. The research is not conclusive, but our goal was to raise awareness. If one vendor and one device can do so much damage, what happens with the other dozens or even hundreds that are also out there? Weber: We uncovered the tip of the iceberg. If there has been some political censorship in a country, even if it’s just a few websites, we can expect there to be more. Would you argue Huawei is more likely to facilitate censorship because of its origins in China, one of the most censored countries in the world? Weber: Like all other companies, Huawei is profit driven, which means they will sell anywhere they can make money. We’ve seen that Blue Coat Systems, a company based in the U.S., was selling to regimes that were questionable. There are very few international regulations that would inhibit any of these companies [from] selling wherever there is an opportunity. [Editor’s note: Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab have reported products sold by Blue Coat Systems being used to censor and surveil internet traffic around the world in the past, including in Syria in 2011, despite a U.S. trade embargo. The company – which has since been acquired and restructured, according to Forbes – told the Wall Street Journal that the technology had been transferred without its knowledge.] What is a company’s responsibility if it supplies a middlebox to a customer that uses it to censor news under local law? Weber: There are best practices to engage customers abroad and do risk assessments. I haven’t seen much evidence that Huawei does this. If you’re a manufacturer selling to law enforcement or government entities, you have to assess their human rights record. It’s too easy to say, “We don’t know how it’s going to be used.” We were able to find questionable use of the technology, a multi-million or multi-billion-dollar company should be able to as well. View the full article
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  5. New York, November 22, 2021 – Somali authorities should thoroughly investigate the suicide bombing that killed Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled and injured Sharmarke Mohamed Warsame and Abdukadir Abdullahi Nur in the capital of Mogadishu on November 20, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Abdiaziz, a well-known journalist also known as Abdiaziz Afrika who worked as director of the government-owned Radio Mogadishu, was killed by a suicide attack as he was leaving a restaurant. Sharmarke, a director of the government-owned Somali National TV, and their driver Abdukadir Abdullahi Nur, were injured in the attack, according to multiple media reports. The militant group Al-Shabaab took responsibility for the attack and said they had been “hunting” Abdiaziz for a long time, according to those reports, although a November 21 report by the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), a local press rights group, said it “was not clear how the suicide bomber identified the journalists’ vehicle and got knowledge of their movement.” Questions about how the attackers knew Abdiaziz was behind the tinted windows of a car that wasn’t his own, heighten the need for a thorough investigation, SJS Secretary General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin told CPJ by phone. “Somalia is one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world and this tragic attack is just another example of that,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator. “A thorough and transparent investigation into the attack that killed Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled and injured Sharmarke Mohamed Warsame and Abdukadir Abdullahi Nur is critical for authorities to signal that they are serious about reversing the impunity that prevails in journalists’ killings in Somalia.” Abdullahi Amin Mohamud, the editor of Somali National TV who is known by the name Abdullahi Qorshe, told CPJ he was about 20 meters – about 22 yards – away from the attack when he saw the blast, and then helped get Sharmarke and Abdukadir to hospital, where they remain. “Everyone was running in different directions, and it was terrifying,” he said. “It was a really sad situation, when you see your colleague and friend is dying in front of you.” Journalists working for government-owned media are specifically targeted by Al-Shabaab, Abdullahi told CPJ, adding that “[Abdiaziz] Afrika was the biggest target” because of a program he hosted, where he interviewed imprisoned members of the militant group. Other than his position with the state media, Sharmarke was not working on anything that would have made him a more likely target for Al-Shabaab, Abdullahi said. A statement by Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abokar Dubbe, which was posted on Facebook by Radio Mogadishu on November 20, said Abdiaziz was “killed in an explosion” and “targeted” because he “gave everything for the state-building process.” Abdiaziz was buried November 21, according to a tweet by the local Shabelle Media Network and Abdalle. For the last seven years, Somalia has topped CPJ’s Impunity Index, which tracks countries’ records of holding journalists’ killers to account. Abdalle told CPJ he had “slim hope” that authorities would be able to reverse that trend on the killing of Abdiaziz. CPJ reached Somali presidential spokesperson Abdirashid Mohamed Hashi by phone. He said he was in a meeting and would call back in ten minutes but did not. CPJ’s calls to Somalia police spokesperson Zakia Hussein and Abdirahman Yusuf Omar, Somalia’s deputy information minister, went unanswered. View the full article
  6. James O'Keefe at the National Press Club announces an undercover investigation into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign staff in 2015. Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesAn FBI raid on Project Veritas leader James O'Keefe’s home in early November 2021 has sparked an unusual demonstration of support from the very establishment media that O'Keefe has spent his career targeting and trashing. The raid was conducted on the suspicion that O’Keefe and former Project Veritas staffers were implicated in the theft of President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley’s diary before the 2020 election. The Department of Justice said the cellphones sought in the raid would reveal evidence of aiding and abetting the transport of stolen property worth $5,000 or more across state lines, and of failure to report the theft to law enforcement in violation of federal law. Project Veritas says that the phones contain attorney-client privileged information and newsgathering materials protected by the First Amendment. O’Keefe is the self-described “progressive radical” and founder and CEO of Project Veritas. His organization has a long history of conducting undercover sting operations, frequently targeting progressive nonprofits, politicians and the news media with the stated aim of disclosing bias, hypocrisy and illegal activity. Many journalists repudiate Project Veritas and its methods, contending that the organization is ideologically driven and routinely violates established norms of media ethics. As a professor of media ethics and law, I’ve been grappling with how to think about Project Veritas and its escapades for years. Like many media lawyers, I wish it would just go away. Nevertheless, media organizations and their supporters, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, of which I served as executive director from 1985 to 1999, rallied to protest the searches and seizures as a possible violation of the First Amendment right of a news organization to gather information. They demanded answers about why Project Veritas was targeted in the investigation. And they made clear that they were concerned about more than just Project Veritas, whose methods they have often decried. The Wall Street Journal editorial board said, ‘We don’t agree with or practice all of Mr. O’Keefe’s methods, but what he does is reporting that qualifies as journalism.’ Screenshot, Wall Street Journal Unorthodox methods Project Veritas bills itself a nonprofit journalism enterprise, and its website touts its many efforts to “achieve a more ethical and transparent society.” But its work doesn’t look much like traditional journalism. One of its more notorious undertakings involved making secret recordings at various offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in 2009, purporting to show ACORN staffers advising O’Keefe and his associate how to evade taxes and engage in human trafficking. Although a subsequent investigation by the California Attorney General concluded that the videos had been “severely edited,” their release prompted Congress to freeze federal funding to ACORN. ACORN was eventually exonerated by the Government Accountability Office, but Project Veritas continues to brag about its takedown of the organization as one of its “successes.” Project Veritas also revels in exposés of what it calls “political bias in the mainstream media,” including CNN, ABC, National Public Radio and The Washington Post. Recently, it sued The New York Times in state court in Westchester County, New York, claiming that the newspaper defamed it by calling its videos alleging voter fraud in Minneapolis “misinformation.” It has now used that case as the means to obtain a court order to compel the Times to curtail its reporting about the investigation, which Project Veritas claims came from government leaks – an extraordinary request for prior restraint unprecedented since the Supreme Court’s Pentagon Papers case in 1971, and hardly consistent with support of the First Amendment. Disclosing illegally obtained information The Supreme Court has said that the First Amendment provides some protection for newsgathering, although it does not permit the news media to violate laws that apply to everyone. Because the government does not issue licenses to journalists, anyone who gathers and disseminates information to the public can claim to be “the press.” That’s why the FBI raid concerns members of the news media. They fear they could be next. For their part, the attorneys representing Project Veritas say that two anonymous individuals, who claimed they had legally acquired the diary after Ashley Biden “abandoned” it at a house in Florida, offered to sell it to Project Veritas for possible publication. After the lawyers for both parties negotiated an “arm’s length agreement,” Project Veritas took delivery of the diary. Project Veritas claims that it couldn’t authenticate the diary to its satisfaction and after trying unsuccessfully to return it to Biden’s lawyer, sent it back to local law enforcement officials. If this version of events is true, U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in a 2001 press-related case, Bartnicki v. Vopper, should apply. There, the high court ruled that a media organization can disclose important information illegally obtained by a third party, as long as the organization itself was not involved. “A stranger’s illegal conduct does not suffice to remove the First Amendment shield from speech about a matter of public concern,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote. If Project Veritas was not involved in the theft of the diary, it could also be covered by the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, which bars both federal and state law enforcement from seizing journalists’ work product and documentary materials except in very limited circumstances. In fact, the Justice Department has been prohibited from even subpoenaing journalists by Attorney General guidelines that date back to 1974 – although investigations into leaks of classified information led to notable exceptions to this rule during the Obama and Trump administrations. Earlier this year, Biden said it was “simply, simply wrong” to compel journalists to reveal their sources, and Attorney General Merrick Garland promised in July to beef up the guidelines and make them law to ensure that future administrations would also be bound by them, though he has yet to do so. Project Veritas says it is covered by the Privacy Protection Act, which protects those engaged in “public communication,” as well as the guidelines. But in defending the FBI raid on O'Keefe’s home, the government contends that it has followed all applicable regulations and policies regarding what it calls “potential members of the news media” – suggesting that they think Project Veritas isn’t one. A stolen diary believed to be from presidential daughter Ashley Biden is at the center of the FBI raid on James O'Keefe’s home. Photo by DNCC via Getty Images ‘Serious ramifications’ Until the underlying affidavits supporting the warrants are unsealed, we won’t know whether the U.S. Attorney thinks that Project Veritas committed a crime, or that it isn’t a news organization. Either possibility has serious ramifications for all media. If Project Veritas is found guilty of a crime, any journalist who transports leaked or “stolen” information across state lines could be charged with violation of the law. It’s unclear what that means today when so many documents are transmitted electronically. Or, if the government narrowly defines “the press” based on its political outlook or ethics, then no news organization is safe from attacks by future administrations. Either way, the mainstream media are holding their collective noses and supporting Project Veritas in its fight. It’s a matter of principle, but also of self-preservation. [You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter.] Executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1985-1999. RCFP is mentioned in the article. View the full article
  7. November 19, 2021—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today paid tribute to brave journalists from Guatemala, Mozambique, and Myanmar by presenting them with CPJ’s 2021 International Press Freedom Awards (IPFA) in New York. CPJ also honored Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai with its 2021 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award. “The journalists we are honoring today have been sustained by a fierce belief in the justness of their cause and the power of an informed society. They have risked their lives and liberty to bring us the news,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We are reminded by their sacrifice that to practice journalism in the face of grave danger requires a profound sense of optimism and a sincere faith in humanity.” The awardees recognized at the event included Mozambican investigative journalist Matías Guente, Guatemalan radio journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz, and Myanmar journalist and Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) founder Aye Chan Naing. “I see this award not only as recognition, but also as an enormous responsibility for our role as Mozambican journalists in the defense of press freedom,” said Guente, who has faced attempted kidnappings, physical attacks, and threats in retaliation for his outlet’s hard-hitting reporting. Guente, who received his award from CNN senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir, described his recognition as “a call to the world that press freedom transcends borders, and we are all called upon to defend it.” Aye Chan Naing accepted his award from Ed Yong of The Atlantic. As DVB’s founder, editor and director, Aye Chan Naing—who ran an underground network of in-country reporters from exile in Norway before helping bring DVB aboveground—said there was “one bright light” after February’s military coup led to the latest press crackdowns in Myanmar. “Ten years of relative freedom had created a generation of talented, dedicated Burmese journalists,” he said. “Through online platforms, these journalists have fought every waking hour since February to uncover the grave crimes against humanity committed by the military. Their work is breathtaking, as is the unconquerable desire for freedom of the Burmese people.” Mejía, who received her award from New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, said she would continue her work in Guatemala and “stay committed to the fight against corruption” in spite of facing arrests, detention, and restrictions for her reporting on issues relevant to her community and indigenous women. “I receive this award on behalf of my people in Santa Maria Jolabaj,” said Mejía. David Muir, the ABC “World News Tonight” anchor who hosted the event, described the awardees as an inspiration. “They battled the rich and powerful, often with little more than a camera and a notebook,” he said. “We owe our undying support to them and the thousands like them who advance the cause of free expression just by going out in the streets to report.” Imprisoned Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai received this year’s Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for his sustained commitment to a free press as a cornerstone of democracy. Journalist Amanda Bennett, a former director of Voice of America, interviewed Lai’s son, Sebastien Lai, who shared the story of his father’s courage in the face of crackdowns from Chinese authorities. Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed, who was unable to accept his 2020 award due to threats of imprisonment, also received his award and described his fight against censorship, saying, “Journalists are duty-bound to keep the world informed. Hiding the truth creates crises and ignoring them creates catastrophes. This is an important lesson and reason to continue the quest for truth.” Also among the award highlights was a message from the musician Bono paying tribute to the power of journalism. This year’s awards ceremony was chaired by Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation and CPJ board member. The event raised over $2 million, which will go toward supporting CPJ’s work to protect press freedom globally. “We are grateful to Darren Walker and all of our supporters who helped make this such a successful event,” said CPJ Board Chair Kathleen Carroll. “Their support means the world to us and is a reminder that press freedom remains more necessary than ever.” Because of COVID-related restrictions, the awardees could not be present at the ceremony. Instead, they were featured in a video presentation screened for CPJ supporters at The Plaza hotel in New York City and streamed by CPJ and abcnews.com. One of the awardees, Katsiaryna Barysevich, could not be featured due to shifting security conditions in Belarus. Visit ipfa.cpj.org to watch the presentations and listen to the awardees. Journalists interested in scheduling an interview should email press@cpj.org. View the full article
  8. COP26 is set to shed light on serious climate issues and provide an opportunity to support national governments in meeting their NDCs as well as engage with key stakeholders. With Africa being a historically low carbon emitter and yet labelled as an “impending climate crisis” with severe effects of climate change already evident across various countries, there is a lot at stake for the continent and hence the need to fully dissect and analyse the COP talks on a multifaceted level. Join us in breaking down and discussing this year’s COP talks and what it means for Africa. In our Africa community hangout, we will examine; – What happened at COP26? – What do we need to know as climate journalists? – How will Africa be impacted? – Where do we go from here? Click here to register : https://bit.ly/africa-commhang-nov21-reg
  9. Joyce

    Africa Community Hangout

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    Time is 12:00pm GMT.
  10. Joyce

    Africa Community Hangout

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    COP26 is set to shed light on serious climate issues and provide an opportunity to support national governments in meeting their NDCs as well as engage with key stakeholders. With Africa being a historically low carbon emitter and yet labelled as an “impending climate crisis” with severe effects of climate change already evident across various countries, there is a lot at stake for the continent and hence the need to fully dissect and analyse the COP talks on a multifaceted level. Join us in breaking down and discussing this year’s COP talks and what it means for Africa. In our Africa community hangout, we will examine; – What happened at COP26? – What do we need to know as climate journalists? – How will Africa be impacted? – Where do we go from here? Click here to register : https://bit.ly/africa-commhang-nov21-reg
  11. The weight of the world’s news can be too much. (Shutterstock)In 1983, Canada’s Anne Murray released another hit song. This one, though, was different than what her fans were accustomed to. A Little Good News is a sombre ballad summarizing the mood of the day: “One more sad story’s one more than I can stand; Just once how I’d like to see the headline say; ‘Not much to print today, can’t find nothin’ bad to say’ […] We sure could use a little good news today.” Nearly 40 years later, the lyrics strike a chord. Except, these days, the news coverage of those sad stories is non-stop. There’s a “fire hose” of information in the palm of our hands, day and night. As we grapple with grim headlines about the pandemic, political upheaval, racial injustice and climate change, we could all use a little good news. In the meantime, many people — of all ages and backgrounds — are giving up on news, joining the ranks of the so-called “news avoiders.” Some are limiting how much they consume. Others are shunning it altogether. They don’t watch, listen or read. News avoidance is the subject of my research paper “No News is Not Good News,” soon to be published in the Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications. As a journalist for more than 30 years, I experienced massive changes to the news industry first hand. Now, as a journalism professor, I have the opportunity to explore what’s behind the avoidance trend. Worn out & needing breaks The weight of the world’s news can be too much. Even before the arrival of COVID-19, a 2019 survey of 12,000 American adults found 66 per cent admitted they were “worn out” by the sheer amount of news available. In 2020, 71 per cent of American adults said they need to “take breaks from COVID-19 news” while 43 per cent said the news “leaves them feeling worse emotionally.” While people say they mainly avoid news because of their mental health, trust is also a reason. (Shutterstock) In 2021, a survey in Canada found more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of 1,002 Canadians surveyed admitted to being “burned out when it comes to consuming news about the pandemic.” The World Health Organization even addressed this in their mental health tips saying: “Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed.” And growing numbers of people are taking this to heart. In 2020, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University examined the “infodemically vulnerable” in Britain — people who chose to cut back on pandemic news. More than one-fifth said “they often or always actively try to avoid the news” with the majority citing the impact on their moods. Distrust in media While mental health preservation appears to be the primary reason behind the increase in avoidance, trust is also cited. Distrust in mainstream media isn’t new, but the skepticism surrounding journalism intensified during the pandemic as anti-vaccination advocates and conspiracy theorists questioned the validity and accuracy of COVID-19 facts shared by news organizations and governments. In its 2021 annual world-wide Trust Barometer, Edelman (a communications firm) found trust in media, both traditional and social, at all-time lows. One factor is a strong perception of bias among journalists. Of the 33,000 people surveyed 59 per cent agreed with this: “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.” Given these findings and opinions, it’s not surprising that fewer people are consuming news, at least in the traditional sense. The question for journalism is whether news avoidance is a short-term, pandemic-related phenomenon or a steady trend attributed to distrust and a decline in the overall quality of journalism? Many people say the news leaves them feeling worse emotionally. (Shutterstock) What can news organizations do? It’s time for news organizations to do more to convince the public of their relevance and reliability. Based on my experience as a journalist, I believe that many news organizations have fallen short by refusing to invest time and money to conduct audience research to confirm what consumers want, as opposed to assuming to know what they want based solely on what has worked in the past. Greater transparency is another potential solution. Educating consumers on how journalists do their jobs and why certain stories and issues are covered over others is more important than ever. One method — publishing or posting entire interviews or transcripts — would enable consumers to determine for themselves if the interviewee’s quotes are accurate or taken out of context. Improved trust and increased relevance can also be attained when news organizations address the lack of diversity and alternative perspectives in newsrooms and strive for improved understanding of marginalized communities. The world has changed dramatically in the past 20 years but, apart from technology, little has changed in how newsrooms are structured and how journalists inform the public. So, if bad or irrelevant news has you considering avoidance, a suggestion: just as we’ve been taught that moderation is the key to so many habits, it’s the same for news. You don’t need to stay glued to the TV or Twitter or Facebook hour after hour and you don’t need your phone to be the last thing you see each night. Rather than shutting off the fire hose of news completely, reduce the flow to a steady, manageable trickle. Stay informed without being overwhelmed. I’m confident you’ll find at least a little good news. Neill Fitzpatrick does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. View the full article
  12. Abuja, Nigeria, November 15, 2021 – Nigerian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Luka Binniyat and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On November 4, police officers in Barnawa, a town in the northern state of Kaduna, arrested Binniyat, a freelance journalist who contributes to the U.S.-based news outlet The Epoch Times, according to an Epoch Times report and Jonathan Asake, president of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, a local rights group, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview. Binniyat, who also works as a spokesperson for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, was arrested at the group’s office in Barnawa, according to those sources. Officers took Binniyat to the police headquarters in Gabasawa, in northern Kaduna state, where they revealed that he had been arrested in response to a complaint by Samuel Aruwan, the state’s commissioner for internal security and home affairs, over an October 29 report that Binniyat had published in The Epoch Times, according to Asake and that report. On November 8, police filed charges with a magistrate court under Section 24 (B) of the Cybercrimes Act, and took Binniyat to a local prison, according to Asake and Binniyat’s lawyer, Ehizogie F. Imadomeju, who spoke by phone with CPJ. On November 9, Binniyat was arraigned and the court denied his bail application, according to Imadomeju and another report by The Epoch Times. “Nigerian authorities should cease all legal proceedings against journalist Luka Binniyat, release him immediately, and reform the country’s laws to prevent the criminalization of journalism,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York. “Disputes over reporting should be settled in ways that avoid the jailing of journalists.” Section 24 (B) of the Cybercrimes Act, which CPJ reviewed, criminalizes using computers or other devices to transmit information that the sender “knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent.” Imadomeju told CPJ that, if convicted of cyberstalking, Binniyat could face up to three years in prison and a fine of 7 million naira (US$17,049). The Epoch Times is a U.S.-based international news outlet affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement; in Nigeria, it covers local news stories and often reports on religious and ethnic minorities. Binniyat’s October 29 Epoch Times report criticized the Kaduna state government’s response to the killings of Christians, and quoted Senator Danjuma Laah as saying that Aruwan had been involved in concealing facts around a “genocide against Christians in the Southern Kaduna State.” The report also alleged that police had failed to make arrests one month after 38 unarmed farmers were killed in Madamai, a predominantly Christian community. Aruwan told CPJ over the phone that the comments attributed to Laah were false and that they had put him and his family in grave danger. Also reached by phone, Alfred Borg Audu, Laah’s special adviser on intergovernmental affairs, denied that Laah had made those comments. Asake told CPJ that Binniyat was denied bail because the judge said that the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter, and then adjourned proceedings until November 23, when they are scheduled to be heard again by the same court. Doug Burton, a freelance editor for The Epoch Times who worked with Binniyat on the October 29 story, told CPJ by phone that Binniyat wrote the report in his capacity as reporter for the news outlet, not as a spokesperson for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union. CPJ called and texted Kaduna state police spokesperson Mohammed Jalige for comment, but did not receive any replies. Previously, authorities detained Binniyat in 2017 for alleged breach of peace and false reporting over a report he wrote for the Vanguard news website, as CPJ documented at the time. View the full article
  13. The photos showed blood-soaked concrete, a gashed open thigh, and an injured protester grimacing in pain on the ground. Taken by photojournalist Eti-Inyene Godwin Akpan on October 20, 2020, the images tell the story of Nigerian forces’ mass shooting of anti-police brutality protesters at Lagos’ Lekki Toll Gate, an incident the government continues to deny. One year after Akpan published the photographs on social media, he planned to display them in Lagos at a museum exhibit marking the anniversary of the protests against police brutality that swept Nigeria late last year. But he postponed the show indefinitely after receiving two calls summoning him, without explanation, to the local offices of Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS), a federal security agency. “I now sleep with one eye closed, trying to watch my back every second,” Akpan told CPJ in a phone call. “They know I know some things and I have some images…” The calls came minutes after Akpan gave a live interview on local TV about his work documenting the 2020 protests. Akpan said that he asked the callers for a formal, emailed summons. He feared that without it, the DSS might mistreat him or hold him for a prolonged period without access to a lawyer or his family, the kind of behavior that CPJ has documented in the past. The calls echoed intimidation tactics he said he faced a year earlier following his posting on social media about the toll gate shooting – tactics that led him to temporarily flee the country. Reached by CPJ via messaging app, DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya denied that his agency called Akpan in early October 2021. He also dismissed concerns over the DSS’ history of detaining journalists. “Right in front of my eyes, I saw dead bodies,” reads the caption on Akpan’s Instagram post from the October 2020 shooting that killed protesters, according to local and international media and rights groups. It was the deadliest incident in last year’s protests, known as the End SARS movement – a reference to the protesters’ call to dismantle Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit. Journalists covering the protest movement were beaten, harassed, and fined by law enforcement. One reporter, Onifade Emmanuel Pelumi, was found dead at a mortuary on October 30, 2020; he was last seen alive in police custody after he covered unrest around the protests in Lagos. Images of the Lekki Toll Gate killings are particularly sensitive, Akpan told CPJ, because they contradict the government’s account. In a press conference, Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed marked October 20 this year by calling it “the first anniversary of the phantom massacre,” which took place “without blood or bodies.” Last year the Nigerian army admitted it used live rounds at the toll gate, but said its forces only shot into the air. After Akpan first published the pictures, he told CPJ that anonymous callers pressured him to take down the Instagram post and replace it with one saying the images were fake. He said his bank account was frozen and that DSS agents arrived at his office looking for him, which DSS spokesperson Afunanya denied. After that, Akpan decided to heed friends’ advice to leave the country. In the days before he fled, Akpan told CPJ that he believed the images he had captured could contribute to the historical record of the protests. But to protect this evidence for future generations and continue his work, he needed to be safe. He fled to Ghana by crossing over land through Benin and Togo – a journey of hundreds of miles facilitated by CPJ and Maxime Domegni, an editor with the Global Investigative Journalism Network. Akpan did not know anyone in Benin or Togo. Nor did he speak the local languages of those two francophone countries. But CPJ introduced him to two local investigative journalists — Igance Sossou in Benin and Ferdinand Ayité in Togo – whose help would prove invaluable. Sossou and Ayité have both faced reprisal for their work and told CPJ in separate interviews that they agreed to assist Akpan out of journalistic solidarity. “I understand the risk hanging over journalism in the West African sub-region,” Sossou, who was arrested in late 2019, imprisoned for six months, and fined over social media posts, told CPJ via messaging app. “If you are a journalist who experienced what I experienced between 2019 and 2020 in Benin, you are necessarily sensitive to the case of Eti-Inyene.” Benin journalist Igance Sossou (left photo, at left) and Togo journalist Ferdinand Ayité (right photo, at left) helped Eti-Inyene Godwin Akpan (at right in both photos) escape Nigeria for Ghana. (Photos: Eti-Inyene Godwin Akpan) After Akpan slipped across Nigeria’s western border, he met Sossou in Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital. Sossou said he assisted Akpan with changing his money into local currency and finding a car and driver to transport him to Togo’s border, which Akpan crossed on foot before finding a cab to Lomé, Togo’s capital. Ayité, whose newspaper L’Alternative has been repeatedly suspended and who continues to face harassment by authorities, told CPJ he met Akpan in Lomé. Ayité arranged and paid for Akpan’s dinner and overnight accommodation as well as a motorcycle driver who could safely navigate the border with Ghana the following morning. Once across, Akpan caught a bus from the Aflao border town to Accra. “We are just journalists and we have no borders. Wherever one of us is threatened, all journalists are concerned,” Ayité told CPJ. “Solidarity must be the cardinal value of our profession and I think that this is what guided Ignace Sossou and my modest self to come to the aid of [Akpan].” Akpan told CPJ that his travel across Togo and Benin would have been “so difficult, if not impossible” without this assistance. “I would have been attacked or duped,” he said. “It was an amazing collaboration.” After arriving in Accra, a friend helped Akpan find accommodation. He stayed in hiding for four months but decided to return to Nigeria in February 2021. The stresses of exile, exacerbated by the pandemic, made him struggle with loneliness and depression, he said. “I felt that there was still work for me to do in Nigeria. These stories [of the protests] still need to be told,” Akpan said, adding that he initially avoided telling his mother and sisters of his return because it would make them worry. Despite one sister’s advice never to set foot back in Nigeria, he felt that the protests had diminished enough to reduce the risk. But the intimidating calls returned this October, as Akpan promoted his photo exhibition. Akpan told CPJ that the callers claiming to be DSS agents never sent him an emailed summons, as he had requested. After their calls, he received other calls from people asking him questions about his photography. He said the people claimed to be potential clients, but when he requested the callers send their details over email, they never followed up, compounding his fears. He said he now takes extra precautions to secure his communications and store his information. Yet, Akpan has not stopped trying to record historic events. He went out with his camera on this year’s October 20 anniversary to photograph a memorial marking the Lekki Toll Gate killings, where journalists were again attacked by police. The solidarity he experienced over the last 12 months has given him courage and strengthened his commitment to speaking the truth, he told CPJ. “I rest assured that I’m not alone,” he said. View the full article
  14. Iqbal Survé, executive chairman of the Independent newspaper group. Dirco/FlickrSouth African newspaper proprietor Dr Iqbal Survé has long pushed the boundaries of credibility, but recently he crossed the line into full fantasy. Should South Africans pay any attention to Survé? And what is to be done with a rogue publisher? These are the questions South Africans – particularly journalists – are asking after the owner of Sekunjalo Independent Newspaper’s recent media briefing. Survé acquired Independent Newspapers, one of the country’s biggest and most respected newspaper groups, eight years ago. But under his leadership, the titles have been reduced to shadows of themselves. Survé called the briefing to reveal the outcome of investigations into the story his newspapers ran in June claiming that a Tshwane women had given birth to decuplets. He had promised his briefing would be “explosive” and it would implicate a number of senior people. The story, written by Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi, went viral around the world with the claim that the woman had broken all medical records by giving birth to 10 babies. The report fell apart when the newspaper could provide no evidence to back up the claim and it turned out that no-one –- not even Rampedi, or the babies’ father -– had seen them. All the hospitals in the area denied knowledge of the births. Read more: False story about decuplets was a low point for journalism: how to fix the damage Rampedi stood his ground, though, and Survé backed him, though he instituted a total of four different investigations: by an independent advocate, his internal ombudsman, his editorial team and his investigative team. At the briefing, it became clear why he needed multiple investigations: it was to allow him to treat the four reports like a smorgasbord from which he could pick and choose. He ignored Advocate Michael Donan’s independent investigation which said that the report was irresponsible and Rampedi should face disciplinary action. He also ignored his own ombudsmans’ report, which called the story a “hoax”. Instead he went on a rambling account in which he said two of the babies had died and the others had been “trafficked” in a conspiracy involving doctors, nurses, hospitals and social workers. He produced no evidence, but said the proof would emerge in a 10-part documentary series his team were producing over the coming weeks. At the centre of the conspiracy was an unnamed “Nigerian doctor” who could no longer be found. If this was not the owner of what was once the country’s largest newspaper group, nobody would pay any attention to such delusion. But all of his newspaper titles echoed his account, at least one television channel carried his media briefing live and it trended on social media. Anyone who pointed out that his claims had no credibility was mocked as racist or uncaring of trafficking victims. Why does any of this matter? As a media practitioner and commentator for over four decades, I am of the view that Survé is systematically destroying what used to be a serious, credible set of newspapers. The destruction of a media house There are 16 titles in the Independent Group. All have seen an almost total collapse of their circulation since Survé bought out the group in 2013. Most newspapers across the world have lost readers, but few have shrunk as dramatically as each of his titles: the Pretoria News only sells under 1,900 copies a day, down from 30,000; the Cape Argus is under 8,000 from a peak of nearly 80,000; the Cape Times under 9,000 from over 50,000; the Daily News 7,600; and the flagship The Star is below 15,000 when it was 220,000. What used to be serious metropolitan voices are now at the scale of school news sheets. Read more: Journalism makes blunders but still feeds democracy: an insider's view This is tragic enough, but it is clear that Survé is also undermining the credibility of journalists and news outlets in general at a time when the industry is already in deep financial pain, and struggling to rebuild its standing. He is fuelling a popular cynicism towards the media, creating a situation – as we have seen elsewhere – ripe for malicious malinformation and dangerous populism. Two factors seem to allow him to keep going. The first is the Public Investment Corporation, which invests state pensions and appears unable to stop him abusing what’s left of the 4.2 billion Rand (about US$276 million) they gave to his Ayo Technologies group or to call in their rights as shareholders. He has them tied up in legal technicalities. The second is that some major retail advertisers, short of regional outlets in which to promote their wares, continue to prop up these newspapers, despite their lack of audience. The news media industry itself can only stand by and watch in dismay. The South African National Editors Forum pleaded with him to return to the voluntary self-regulatory industry framework, the Press Ombudsman and Council. But he elected to set up his own, effectively making himself unaccountable and free to run rogue when it serves his purposes. He has driven out from his newsrooms anyone who might be likely to stand up to him, and surrounded himself with sycophants and dependants. A worrying development is the Gauteng provincial government instructing lawyers to sue him for defaming their health workers in his media briefing when he suggested doctors and nurses were involved in trafficking. Read more: New threats to media freedom come from unexpected directions One can understand the frustration of not being able to take the matter to the Press Council. But using state resources to sue media is a worrying, often-abused process that sets a bad precedent. Freedom of speech supporters were unhappy when President Jacob Zuma sued renowned South African cartoonist Zapiro. Journalist often protest against large corporates using their resources to bully their critics through malicious court action that is costly to defend. This is a wrongful use of state resources. Other ways should be found to deal with the rogue. Government suing journalists and media houses provides a tool to harass and intimidate the media, and will have a chilling effect on critical reporting. Anton Harber is a member of the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and executive director of the Campaign for Free Expression. View the full article
  15. Nairobi, November 3, 2021 — Rwandan authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Théoneste Nsengimana and cease harassing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 13, security personnel arrested Nsengimana, who runs the YouTube channel Umubavu TV Online, according to tweets by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), a law-enforcement body, and an interview with his wife, Chantal Umwari, published by the YouTube channel Ishema TV. Authorities have charged Nsengimana with membership in a criminal group, dissemination of propaganda aimed at harming the Rwandan government abroad, spreading rumors, and inciting unrest, according to media reports, documents related to the case, which CPJ reviewed, and a person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing safety concerns. The charges stem from a video published on Nsengimana’s YouTube channel the day before his arrest, which announced plans to air programming on October 14 as part of an event to commemorate the plight of political prisoners in Rwanda, according to those sources. As of today, Nsengimana remains detained at the Remera Police Station in the capital, Kigali. He appeared in court on October 28 and November 2, and a bail decision is expected on November 5, according to news reports. “By detaining journalist Théoneste Nsengimana, the Rwandan government is exposing its intolerance for commentary that critically covers issues of public interest and airs dissenting voices,” said CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo. “Authorities should immediately release Nsengimana, drop all the charges filed against him, and cease harassing journalists for their work.” Authorities say that the video and the October 14 event — which organizers called “Ingabire Day” — were part of a larger plot by members of the unregistered opposition party DALFA-Umurinzi to overthrow the government of Rwanda, according to the documents reviewed by CPJ. Authorities allege that DALFA-Umurinzi party members formulated that plot in September discussions about Blueprint for a Revolution, a book about nonviolent activism, according to those documents, which stated that Nsengimana did not attend those discussions. Members of DALFA-Umurinzi and associates of that party’s leader, Victoire Ingabire, are among Nsegimana’s co-defendants, according to the RIB’s tweets, multiple media reports, a statement by the party, and Ingabire, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Ingabire told CPJ that Nsengimana planned to feature her in a political debate on his channel during the October 14 event. Umubavu Online TV publishes reporting and commentary on Rwandan politics, including interviews with opposition figures; its videos have received about 16 million total views, according to CPJ’s review of the channel. Prosecutors allege that the October 12 video posted on Umubavu Online TV spread falsehoods and aimed to incite the public by accusing the government of political killings and arbitrary detentions, according to those documents, which say that authorities also considered the planned October 14 programs to be part of a plot by DALFA-Umurinzi to overthrow the government. If convicted of publishing rumors, Nsengimana could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million Rwandan francs (US$3,000) under Rwanda’s 2018 cybercrimes law. Under Rwanda’s penal code, Nsengimana also faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of inciting unrest, up to 10 years in prison if convicted of being a member of a criminal group, and up to 10 years if convicted of spreading propaganda to harm the international reputation of Rwanda’s government. Previously, in April 2020, Nsengimana was arrested and detained for several weeks on allegations of fraud, part of a broader wave of arrests of journalists reporting critically during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to media reports. CPJ emailed the Rwanda Investigation Bureau and the National Public Prosecution Authority for comment, but did not receive any reply. When CPJ called the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, a person answered the phone and said he would respond to CPJ’s emailed questions, but had not done so by the time of publication, and did not answer subsequent calls and a request sent via messaging app. Faustin Nkusi, the spokesperson of Rwanda’s National Public Prosecution Authority, did not respond to phone calls or messages from CPJ seeking comment. View the full article
  16. Nairobi, November 2, 2021 — Authorities in Ethiopia must immediately release Ahadu Radio and Television journalists Luwam Atikilti and Kibrom Worku and stop retaliating against members of the press for their coverage of the ongoing war in northern Ethiopia, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 22, at approximately 4:00 p.m., police in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa arrested Luwam Atikilti, a reporter working for the privately owned Ahadu Radio and Television, at her workplace, according to news reports and her lawyers, Abebaw Abebe and Tigabu Dessalgn, who spoke to CPJ via phone. Separately, on the afternoon of October 26, police arrested Kibrom Worku, a reporter and news editor with the station, after summoning him to the Ahadu offices in Addis Ababa, according to Abebaw and Tigabu, as well as news reports. The journalists remained in detention as of today, according to those sources. The detention of the two journalists followed an October 22 Ahadu radio report, in which Luwam interviewed an official who claimed forces led by the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group that has been engaged in a year-long war against the federal government, took control of Haiyk, a town in the Amhara regional state, according to a report by independent news website Ethiopia Insider and a colleague of the journalists who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity citing safety concerns. Ahadu retracted the report hours later, saying it was inaccurate, and apologized to its audience, according to Abebaw, Luwam’s lawyer, and Ethiopia Insider. The colleague told CPJ that Kibrom was the news editor on duty that day and he believed the arrests were directly related to Luwam’s report. “The detention of the two Ahadu Radio and Television journalists is a gross overreaction to a retracted report, and it is alarming that the courts would entertain criminal proceedings against them,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative. “Authorities should immediately release Luwam Atikilit and Kibrom Worku, and the police should discontinue any investigations against them.” Luwam appeared at the Federal First Instance Court on October 23; during that appearance, police were granted five days to hold her so they could investigate allegations of Luwam communicating with a terrorist organization and spreading false information, according to Abebaw. Police said they needed time to collect forensic evidence from her phone and laptop, Abebaw said. On October 28, the court granted police eight more days to hold Luwam, as they said they were still collecting evidence from her as well as from Ethio Telecom, which has a monopoly as the country’s internet and telephone service provider, and from the intelligence service, according to reports by Voice of America and Addis Standard. During a hearing on October 27, the Federal First Instance Court granted police nine days to detain Kibrom pending investigations into allegations of communicating with a terrorist organization, according to Tigabu and Deutsche Welle. Tigabu added that the alleged terrorist organization is not named in the police’s allegation. The journalists’ lawyers asserted in court that since the report was corrected promptly, the issue should be dealt with through the media law, not as a criminal act, according to news reports. Ethiopia’s media law, enacted in April 2021, mandates civil liability for cases involving defamation and inaccuracies, Tigabu one of the journalists’ lawyers, told CPJ on the phone. In May, the Ethiopian parliament designated the TPLF a terrorist group, according to media reports. Since the start of the war in Tigray in November 2020, CPJ has documented the arrests of several journalists accused of having links with the TPLF. CPJ’s emails to the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice, and Jeylan Abdi, the federal police spokesperson, requesting comment on the detention of the two Ahadu journalists were not answered. Jeylan also did not respond to a text and WhatsApp message requesting comment. View the full article
  17. People protesting Biden's election participate in "Stop the Steal," a pro-Trump rally in Madison, Wisc., in November 2020. (Shutterstock)Russian intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election showed how disinformation could disrupt a democratic process. And due to the current reach of social media, the risk of fake news being disseminated is greater than ever. Foreign intervention in the Canadian federal election was relatively insignificant compared to the U.S. presidential election, but the potential ramifications of fake news in Canada still require extra awareness and effort to counter it in the long run. Canada needs a broad strategy that combines approaches from national and international governments, private companies like Google and Facebook and third-party entities like the fact-checking organization DisinfoWatch. Inoculating the public Emerging during the Second World War, inoculation theory concentrated on political persuasion and propaganda campaigns. When U.S. soldiers in the Far East faced the danger of being brainwashed if captured, psychologist William McGuire developed a different focus: to “inoculate” people to resist being “brainwashed.” McGuire referred to this as a “vaccine for brainwash” that would boost the population’s resilience to disinformation and decrease their susceptibility to fake news. Inoculation reduces the effectiveness of disinformation. Education and training in critical thinking for the public is acutely important, especially for adolescents, whose perspectives and skills like objective reasoning and analysis are starting to develop. As the risk of electoral intervention increases, Canada has been allocating a tremendous amount of resources to combat possible occurrences. Content on how to identify fake news has even been added to school curricula. Federal initiatives, like the Digital Citizen Initiative and Digital Citizen Research Program, also work to strengthen the public’s resistance to persuasion by disinformation. Disinformation can have dramatic impacts on political outcomes. (Shutterstock) Fragmented approaches Canada does not have one specific unit, department or institution that focuses on fighting disinformation. In addition to police and military departments, there are several branches of government that deal with disinformation and cybersecurity. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) often publishes reports regarding disinformation as a security challenge and warns of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, especially during elections. Meanwhile, the Communication Security Establishment (CSE), also a national security and intelligence organization, focuses on cyberthreats, foreign-based terrorism and other espionage. Its July 2021 report examines the extent of cyberthreats to Canada’s democratic process. The Competition Bureau Canada also addresses fake news related to COVID-19 and businesses, while the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre engages with suspected criminal activities. Canada lacks an integrated institution that oversees all cybersecurity intelligence and analysis, planning and executing efforts to counter disinformation. A panel organized by the London School of Economics looks at the problem of fake news in politics. Open communication Cybercrime is intensifying and relations between countries (such as the U.S. and China) are worsening. Instances of foreign involvement in political campaigns have been documented. In this new era of cyberthreats to national security, it will be necessary for governments to communicate openly and share information as authoritarian regimes attempt to undermine their opponents. A department within the Canadian government with the authority to enforce a whole-of-government approach would be unquestionably vital for Canada’s liberal democratic future. Internationally, the Canadian government should take more specific actions that align with our allies and like-minded democracies to “strengthen our capacity to prevent malign interference by foreign actors aimed at undermining electoral processes through malicious cyber activities.” This could start by establishing an integrated system within the Five Eyes alliance that includes the exchange of sensitive information to combat disinformation and, in the future, further extended to more democracies. There is, unfortunately, no single solution for fighting disinformation. Multidisciplinary approaches by international and national governments, private companies and other organizations are all vital to improve the resilience of national security and protect our democratic society from information warfare. Benjamin C. M. Fung receives funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), and Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT). Sze-Fung Lee does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. View the full article
  18. Abuja, Nigeria, November 1, 2021 — Authorities in Nigeria must prioritize the safety of journalists covering protests and hold officers responsible for abuses accountable, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 20, in three separate incidents, police officers arrested, harassed, or beat up three journalists–Sikiru Obarayese, Abisola Alawode, and Adefemi Akinsanya—as they covered memorials marking the one-year anniversary of killings at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, the journalists told CPJ by phone. On October 20, 2020, Nigerian security forces shot and killed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate during protests calling for an end to police brutality across Nigeria, according to a report by privately owned Premium Times online newspaper. “Police attacks on journalists covering protests are unfortunately not novel in Nigeria and are among the dangers the press in the country face on a daily basis,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, from Nairobi. “Nigerian authorities should hold accountable the officers responsible for harassing and attacking the media to send a signal that such behavior will not be tolerated.” Sikiru Obarayese, a reporter with the privately owned Daily Post newspaper. (Credit: Obarayese) Around 1 p.m. on October 20, police instructed Obarayese, a reporter with the privately owned Daily Post newspaper, to leave the memorial demonstration moving through Oshogbo, the capital of Nigeria’s southwestern Osun state, the journalist told CPJ. Initially, Obarayese refused, but when he finished his filming and began to leave, an officer pushed him from behind and asked what he was doing. Obarayese said he asked to stop being harassed, and a Divisional Police Officer ordered the journalist be taken to a nearby police van, where at least six other officers beat him with their hands and guns as they forced him into the vehicle. The officers took his eyeglasses and Bluetooth headphones but allowed him to keep his phone as they drove him to the local Dugbe police station, Obarayese told CPJ. At the station, Obarayese was punched repeatedly in the face by an officer, and other officers threatened to kill him if he did not cooperate, but the journalist told CPJ it was unclear what the officers wanted him to do, according to Obarayese and a Daily Post report. From the station, Obarayese was taken to a nearby magistrate court and charged with “breach of peace for videoing the Divisional Police Officer,” according to the journalist and a copy of the handwritten charge sheets reviewed by CPJ. However, Obarayese said the police withdrew the charges and he was released without his glasses which, as of October 26, have not been returned. The Osun state police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, told CPJ that police officers did not assault Obarayese, but that she intervened when she heard about the journalist’s arrest and subsequent charge. Abisola Alawode, a video editor and digital producer with the privately owned Legit news site. (Credit: Alawode) In an incident in Lagos, Alawode, a video editor and digital producer with the privately owned Legit news website, told CPJ that he arrived at the Lekki Toll Gate at 7:30 a.m. and about 30 minutes later, he began filming police arresting a lone protestor. As he filmed, other officers asked that he and other reporters in the area show their press identification cards. According to Alawode and a report by Legit, attempts by the journalist to identify himself with his official business card and driver’s license were not accepted by the police and officers dragged Alawode by his trousers to a nearby police van. Inside the van, at least two officers repeatedly hit Alawode in the face and across his body and only stopped after the journalist repeatedly told them that he was a reporter and showed them his business card, Alawode said. Officers then drove Alawode to a police station, where he was detained for over five hours. The journalist said he was released after officers made him speak on phone to the Lagos state police commissioner, Hakeen Odumosu, who apologized for the police officers’ conduct. Officers returned Alawode’s phone without any indication that they accessed it, he told CPJ. CPJ has previously documented Nigerian security forces’ efforts to use digital forensic technology to access journalists’ devices. Adefemi Akinsanya, a broadcast correspondent for Arise TV in Nigeria. (Credt: Akinsanya) In a separate incident at the Lekki Toll Gate, a group of officers tried to seize a drone that was being used to film the protest by Arise TV, a privately owned station, by pulling and dragging Akinsanya, a broadcast correspondent, from various sides, according to Akinsanya and her Arise broadcast report. Ultimately, the officers were unsuccessful, Akinsanya told CPJ. Odumosu also apologized for the officers’ conduct with the Arise crew and promised to ensure the officers were held accountable, according to the same broadcast report. As of October 29, Akinsanya told CPJ that she has not heard from the police on what was being done to hold the officers responsible. Adekunle Ajisebutu, the police spokesperson for Lagos state, told CPJ via messaging app on October 26 to contact Odumosu since he had personally spoken about the matter. CPJ called and texted Odumosu but did not receive a response. View the full article
  19. Country: Kenya Organization: Habitat for Humanity Closing date: 29 Nov 2021 It’s an exciting time to be part of Habitat for Humanity International, HFHI, in Africa! Habitat has recently centered its operations for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya as part of its Global Impact 2025 initiative. This is a dramatic change initiative aimed at tripling our scale, impact and funding by 2025. As part of our rapidly growing regional team, you will be a critical member in helping Habitat realize that vision. The Africa hub manages Habitat’s operations across the region, including Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Malawi. Nairobi provides access to some of the largest institutions and organizations shaping eastern Africa today. The Africa team plays a pivotal role in building Habitat’s brand in the market and helping elevate housing as a critical part of the solution to the complex challenges facing this region. We are looking for candidates who are driven, resourceful and want desperately to help as many families as possible build strength and stability through housing. We want people who are uncompromisingly committed to Habitat for Humanity’s vision and core values of courage (to do what’s right), accountability (to take personal responsibility for the mission and our actions) and humility (to remember that we are part of something bigger than ourselves). Together, we will achieve a world where everyone has a decent place to live. www.habitat.org ABOUT THE ROLE: The Africa Communications Director leads communications related to Habitat’s work in sub-Saharan Africa, promoting the Habitat brand with targeted audiences in the region and around the world in concert with Habitat’s overall brand strategy. This key role is a member of the management team responsible for overall strategic direction and the effectiveness of Habitat’s work in the region. Reporting to the Senior Director, International Communications, based in the US, this position manages the creation of compelling content and identifies strategically important platforms, channels and initiatives in the region for delivering that content to advance Habitat’s brand awareness, advocacy efforts, programs and fundraising through Habitat’s global donor network. The Communications Director also works closely with the Africa Hub Senior Director to support regional events, message development and other efforts to strengthen Habitat’s positioning in sub-Saharan Africa. Both strategic and hands-on, this role is responsible for developing collaborative relationships at various levels of the organization, from other Global Communications department staff to fundraising, advocacy and program staff to leadership and communications leads at national organizations, branches and other Habitat offices in the region. LOCATION AND TRAVEL: This role is based at our office in Nairobi, Kenya with up to 15% international travel. KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: Communications strategy (20%) * Collaborate closely with the Senior Director, International Communications, and others on the International Communications team to develop and implement aspects of the international communications strategy related to sub-Saharan Africa. * Work with the Africa Hub Senior Director and management team to develop communications strategies that help advance regional initiatives related to brand-building, programs, advocacy and fundraising, with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of Habitat’s global network of donors and supporters. Storytelling and Brand-Building (25%): * Lead the development of content for key communications platforms, ensuring projects are consistent with organizational brand strategy and Africa Hub strategy. * Play a lead role in identifying the communications channels, platforms and events in the region that can best deliver Habitat’s content to audiences that are strategically important for brand positioning, fundraising, advocacy and/or programs. This includes securing media coverage of Habitat’s work and strategic initiatives across broadcast, radio, print and online media in sub-Saharan Africa. Program Communications (25%) * Help interpret Habitat’s programming and expertise for strategically important audiences by preparing both the messaging and the messengers. * Support Habitat fundraisers with the necessary communications collateral related to programs in sub-Saharan Africa so that they can continue to gain support from Habitat’s global network of donors. * Support subject matter experts and other program staff by editing presentations or developing talking points. Regional Signature Events (20%) * Lead on communications planning and implementation for the regional signature events such as Habitat’s Africa Housing Forum, AfriCities Summit and others. Social Media (10%) * Support social media efforts related to sub-Saharan Africa. This includes developing regional and local content/materials, working with national organizations and International Communications colleagues to ensure timely, accurate, compelling information about Habitat’s work in Africa is shared across a range of social media platforms. * Support national organizations in Africa in their social media activities and increase supporter engagement. REQUIREMENTS: * Bachelor’s degree in communications or related field. * 10+ years of related experience in regional communications work across multiple countries, especially managing regional projects with multiple stakeholders. * 3+ years of experience with media relations in sub-Saharan Africa. * Experience developing successful communications strategies that help advance both larger organizational objectives and those of a particular team or initiative within an organization. * Proficiency in building creative concepts and demonstrated ability to see storytelling projects through to completion, including both written and visual aspects. * Proven ability to write, edit, evaluate and curate strong content and design, while meeting brand, marketing and messaging needs. * Strong communications and problem-solving skills. * Strong interpersonal and cross-cultural competencies and organizational and project management skills that demonstrate an ability to successfully collaborate with a variety of departments and stakeholders. * Active support of HFHI values and commitments: Humility – We are part of something bigger than ourselves. Courage – We do what’s right, even when it is difficult or unpopular. Accountability – We take personal responsibility for Habitat’s mission. Safeguarding - HFHI requires that all employees take seriously their ethical responsibilities to safeguarding our intended beneficiaries, their communities (especially children), and all those with whom we work. In line with the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, all staff must pass a thorough background screening and will be held accountable to upholding our policies around ethical behavior, including safeguarding and whistleblowing. PREFERRED: * Previous nonprofit or NGO experience. * Experience with international development and social change. * Deep knowledge of and experience in sub-Saharan Africa. DEADLINE: Apply online by 30 November 2021. How to apply: To be considered for this role, please be sure to apply via the link: https://www.habitat.org/about/careers/africa-communications-director-7030br View the full article
  20. Country: Nigeria Organization: DAI Global Closing date: 14 Nov 2021 Title: Communications Specialist(s) Location: Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Gombe, Sokoto** Start date: February 2022 Background: The purpose of the five-year (2020-2025) “State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness” (“State2State”) Activity is to increase the accountability, transparency and effectiveness of selected state and local governments (LGAs) in Nigeria. This will be achieved by: strengthening governance systems (with a focus on public financial management [PFM] and procurement, as well as monitoring and evaluation) related to the delivery of services in key sectors (basic education, primary health care, and water, sanitation and hygiene [WASH]); increasing government responsiveness to citizen needs and priorities; and improving government and civil society capacity to manage conflict (through work on prevention, mitigation and reconciliation with the same sectoral partners, not stand-alone assistance to the police or judiciary). State2State will achieve this purpose by facilitating the strengthening of subnational governance systems in a sustainable manner, supporting the efforts of local reformers and building on locally derived solutions including, to the extent possible, reforms already working in other parts of Nigeria. Position Objectives: The Communications Specialists will support the strategy, design and implementation of communication and engagement activities to tell the story of the projects’ work through a suite of communications approaches and deliverables, including written communication (reports, success stories, etc.), social media, photography, graphic design, website design, event management, etc. This position will be embedded within a state with responsibility for the communications work in that state, as well as coordinate with the wider project team to provide communications expertise and ensure consistent style, branding, and strategy across the project. Responsibilities: Collaborate with the Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist in the Main Office and other staff member(s) to ensure integration of communications and knowledge management activities that complement and report on state-level program activities. Responsible for providing inputs and developing state-specific content for the design, development, and management of public affairs and public awareness communications programs. Support the preparation and presentation to USAID of reports and written communications on the progress and impact of program activities. Be creative and collaborative, and encourage an open, transparent environment where everyone is informed about project developments. Assist in the circulation and retention of project documents and information. Source content for the production of newsletters and bulletins for internal and external audiences and weekly summaries for all staff on what is happening across the project. Responsible for information collection, content generation and development of communications and knowledge management products, with particular responsibility for the selected state. Supports the generation of communications/knowledge management workplans and products including events and webpages. Ensure awareness of and learning from project accomplishments. Assists other communications and project staff as needed, providing guidance in their particular area of expertise. Reporting: The Communications Specialist will report to the State Lead, working closely with the Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist in the Main Office. Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as English, communications, marketing, information management, public affairs, media, or other relevant field required. At least 7 years of relevant professional experience, with at least five (5) of experience in marketing communications, information management, public affairs, public awareness and/or media. Expertise in particular area(s) of communications preferred, such as writing, website design, graphic design, social media, photography, even management, etc. Previous experience in a USG-funded communications role is preferred. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. Fluency in local languages of the state highly preferred. Women and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. How to apply: Please use the link below to apply: https://fs23.formsite.com/OLJTgx/3krjdatkdi/index.html View the full article
  21. Country: United States of America Organization: International Republican Institute Closing date: 5 Nov 2021 Job Details Description Job Summary: Every employee of IRI is responsible for carrying out the Mission of IRI and demonstrating the Core Values in their day to day operations. The Core Values, which are IRI’s foundational building blocks include: Excellence - We believe in quality results delivered by investing in people. Freedom - We believe in exploration and experimentation to be agile and responsive. Respect - We believe in trust, empathy and empowering people. Teamwork - We believe in diversity, inclusion and the power of global collaboration. Transparency - We believe in open communication and clear decision-making. Accountability - We believe in personal responsibility as the foundation of success. IRI seeks to create an engaging, purposeful, and structured internship program that educates and promotes students’ interest in democracy and governance while building tangible skills for their future endeavors. The intern will work in the Africa Division and provide support to a diverse portfolio and assist regional teams on several projects (political party work, civil society strengthening, governance programming, etc) from a variety of funding sources (USAID, State Department, National Endowment for Democracy). Interns will learn about time management and work on tasks in a fast-paced international affairs environment and be introduced to professional learning opportunities. This position is virtual will start in January 2022 for no more than sixteen (16) weeks and may not be extended. This is a paid position, at $15.20 per hour. In-Person and Virtual applicants encouraged to apply. Position Requirements: Current student or recent graduate of an undergraduate or graduate program in Political Science, International Affairs or related field and interest in Sub-Saharan Africa preferred Excellent verbal and written skills in English Familiarity with Microsoft Office Detail-oriented individual with strong organizational skills Ability to manage time effectively, complete tasks with minimal oversight, and communicate clearly and consistently in a virtual work environment. Language skills a plus: French, Spanish and/or Portuguese Responsibilities: Assist staff with program administration and events, including interview coding, translating reports and other documents, logistics and other tasks as needed Provide administrative support to regional teams Support database system and database management, including Telling our Stories, etc. Monitor international media outlets and conducts background research on political developments specific to regional portfolio Write as a contributor to IRI’s blogs Develop and/or edit country one-pagers Assist in researching and gathering intelligence for proposal design, briefing papers, reports, and presentations Attend and contribute to proposal design sessions and budget development processes Support key record keeping functions of the division, including taking minutes as staff meetings, cleaning databases (contact lists, program inventory, survey research, etc.) Support team recruitment efforts by reviewing job applications and qualifications and developing candidate matrices Attend (virtual) informational meetings and participate in professional development opportunities including trainings offered by the organization (Grants Department, Business Development, Procurement, Office of Evidence and Learning Practice, Center for Insights in Survey Research, etc) Perform other duties as assigned Learning Outcomes: Acquire knowledge of the democracy and governance field of international development in including aspects related to program management, monitoring and evaluation, program and business development, and external affairs. Experience in key project administration skills employers look for in entry level candidates. Develop the communication and writing skills needed to contribute to reports and publications Apply research and analytical skills Gain an understanding IRI’s funding landscape and of award requirements Become acquainted with survey research methods Engage with IRI’s Center for Global Impact and better understand innovative approaches and thematic expertise related to democracy and governance programming, including evidence and learning practices Adapt to virtual workplace culture and accountability practices How to apply: Please submit resume and cover letter to company website: Virtual Intern Africa | Job Opportunities (ultipro.com) View the full article
  22. Organization: HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement Closing date: 10 Nov 2021 Location: MENA Region / Remotely Type: Part-Time job Career category: Communication and Outreach Officer Years of experience: 2-5 years Theme: Right to Protest, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Human Rights, Gender About HuMENA Founded in 2018 on a fundamental commitment to human rights, HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement seeks to achieve a greater MENA citizens engagement in the policymaking process. HuMENA is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges the MENA to live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Law. HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization registered and based in Brussels, with offices in the MENA region. Job description HuMENA is recruiting a Communication and Outreach Officer, responsible for supporting the team with developing, implementing and monitoring communications activities for the organization. The Communication and Outreach Officer will be under the direct line management of the Programs Manger. Given the projects’ strong focus on human rights and engagement of civil society and citizens in policy making, the Communication Officer will need to demonstrate a strong interest in and understanding of creating behavioral change through communication on MENA-polices-related topics. Duties and Responsibilities: The Communication and Outreach Officer will have the following duties and responsibilities: Assist in the implementation of the HuMENA Communication and Outreach Plan. Plan, design and develop engaging and target specific communication and media materials such as videos, infographics, newsletters, projects brochures, press releases and banners. Coordinate, take into consideration and streamline the inputs and feedback of the project’s teams, integrating the partners’ knowledge about nudging the social behaviors of beneficiaries and stakeholders. Contribute as copywriter, copyeditor, layout designer and coordinate with illustrators and designers to produce engaging products and ensuring HuMENA and its partners’ visibility. Suggest clear engaging posts on social media based on a communication monthly plan. Create a periodic newsletter Monitor trends in social media tools and grow web traffic for project social media pages and website by evaluating and adapting social media campaigns and strategies to reach desired outcomes. Draft and edit written content for internal reporting and reporting to project stakeholders. Create guidance and tools to implement communications and advocacy activities for the project partners. Assist in organizing events, workshops, and meetings and develop related promotional materials, as well as documenting the events and activities. Support in the creation and regular updates and content management of the website. Assist with media monitoring about HuMENA and/or topics of interest to HuMENA. Develop requests for proposal and scopes of work for communication activities Other duties as assigned by the line manager. Skills and Qualification: Bachelor’s degree in design, marketing, communications, journalism, or other relevant discipline Arabic and English fluency required, with demonstrated excellent professional-level writing and editing skills in both languages Minimum two years’ experience in communications with NGOs working in the human rights, humanitarian, or development field Demonstrated creativity and documented immersion in social media Experience sourcing and managing content development and publishing Experience effectively communicating information and ideas in written and visual formats Proficiency in MS Office required with graphic design and photo/video experience preferred Strong organizational, multi-tasking, interpersonal, communications, and teamwork skills Hardworking, energetic, willing to learn and contribute toward the HuMENA goals. An eye for detail and impeccable grammar Able to work with minimal direction and supervision, independent and self-sufficient. How to apply: How to Apply The closing deadline for applications is on 10 November 2021, 5 pm Brussels time. Interested candidates should email their application to (recruitment@humena.org) with the name of the vacancy in the email subject. Your application should comprise of: A full CV, including educational and professional qualifications, a full employment history showing the more significant positions, responsibilities held, and relevant achievements A covering note of not more than 1 page outlining your motivation for applying for the role. Due to high volumes of applications received, should you not have received feedback on your application within three weeks of the closing date, please consider your application unsuccessful. We reserve the right to withdraw any of our vacancies at any time. At HuMENA, we are committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity and value a diverse workforce. HuMENA’s policy is to practice fair and non-discriminatory recruitment and selection procedures and strive for international and multicultural personnel. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or sex characteristics. View the full article
  23. Country: Niger Organization: Save the Children Closing date: 8 Nov 2021 OBJECTIF DU POSTE : Le Chargé de la Communication, sera responsable pour la documentation, la production et la diffusion des outils de communication et de l'information sur le projet, ou en lien avec le projet au public interne et externe. Il/elle sera responsable d'assurer que tous les outils et documents produits pour une diffusion externe sont conformes avec les termes du bailleur et de Save the Children. Il/elle va coordonner la mise en place, l'exécution et le suivre des plans de communication du projet. Il/elle sera responsable de l'orientation du personnel du projet sur des outils qui faciliteraient l'organisation de l'information et la rédaction des documents pour communiquer sur les succès, les leçons apprises, et les résultats du projet. Il/elle gérera une banque de données (photos et vidéo) en assurant la classification des fiches de consentement. Il/elle participera à l'élaboration des synthèses des résultats et des expériences du programme et aidera à la documentation. Il/elle apportera un appui sur la révision des contenus et la mise en forme des documents et outils de communication. Il/elle contribuera à la promotion de l'image générale de Save the Children et en particulier du projet USAID Kulawa RESPONSABILITÉS DU POSTE : Assurer la visibilité du projet USAID Kulawa Assurer la responsabilité pour la mise à jour et suivi du plan de Communication du projet Travailler avec le Spécialiste CLA pour finaliser des articles pour le bulletin de SCI et l'initiative RISE II et autres bulletins périodiques Préparer des "Flash Info" à partager avec l'équipe Kulawa, SCI et/ou USAID Créer le contenu multimédia pour partage sur les médias sociaux en collaboration avec l'équipe Communications Soutenir l'équipe Kulawa en collaboration avec le spécialiste CLA pour documenter et communiquer les résultats des activités du projet à travers les cas de succès et photo stories qui montrent l'impact du projet. Appuyer les équipes projet pour la diffusion des messages radiophoniques et télévisés Produire des outils de communications/visibilité y compris banderoles, kakemonos, affiches, brochures etc. et assurer la conformité au branding du projet Produire et/ou suivre la production des photos et/ou vidéos documentaires pour montrer les approches et résultats du projet Appuyer le projet avec toute activité liée à la dissémination des résultats, partage de leçons apprises et documentation de meilleurs pratiques Apporter un appui aux rapports périodiques du projet (trimestriels, annuels et finales) en développant une section sur les réalisations du projet en communication, la mise en forme des documents, et la compliance avec les règlements de bailleur etc. Fournir une assistance technique pour la rédaction, la révision et la mise en page des publications, rapports, et tous produits pour diffusion à l'externe. Assurer la conformité des produits de documentation et communication avec les règlements de l'USAID. Relations Médias En collaboration avec l'équipe Communication de SCI Preserver l'image de l'organisation Coordonner les réponses aux requêtes venant des médias Déterminer les activités nécessitant la présence de la presse/média Ecrire les communiqués de presse Organiser les press briefings et Maintenir de bonnes relations avec les médias Renforcement de capacité Orienter l'équipe de projet, y compris les ONGs partenaires sur la communication, le branding et leurs rôles dans la communication du projet Développer et suivre l'utilisation des outils de communication par l'équipe projet Renforcer l'utilisation systématiquement d'une fiche de consentement pour la prise des images Autres Etablir un système/une base de gestion des photos/vidéos triées pour le projet et archivage des fiches de consentement des bénéficiaires en suivant les règlements de Save the Children en collaboration avec le spécialiste CLA. Orienter l'équipe projet sur la prise de vue afin de garantir la qualité des photos/images pour le rapportage de nos activités ; Veuillez au respect de la gestion de données personnelle de l'organisation en collaboration avec le data base manager du projet Kulawa Participer à des rencontres de partenaires de l'USAID organisées dans le cadre de la communication. Travailler avec l'équipe Plaidoyer et Communication de Save the Children pour s'assurer que les activités du projet sont prises en compte. Participer aux réunions et aux ateliers du projet et du Bureau Pays à des fins de communication et documentation QUALIFICATIONS, EXPÉRIENCE ET ATTRIBUTS Essentiel : Avoir au moins une licence en communication, en sciences sociales ou dans un autre domaine similaire ; Au moins 3 ans d'expérience étroitement liées à la communication, gestion de connaissance ou autres domaines connexes ; l'expérience avec les projets USAID un atout Compétences avérées en communication écrite et orale et une capacité à diffuser de grandes quantités d'information à divers publics Expérience de travail dans une équipe de communication, bonne compréhension du marketing et de l'image de marque (branding) et son rôle dans la communication ; Capacité à maximiser les opportunités avec les médias et de répondre efficacement à leurs demandes Capacité à préparer des rapports et des outils spécifiques à chaque cible Expérience avec les plates-formes web et les médias sociaux Connaissances en informatique : Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, SharePoint, Teams, et autres logiciels de conception graphique, montage audiovisuels, et de Production Assistée par l'Ordinateur (PAO) Excellentes compétences organisationnelles et de gestion de temps Possibilité de planifier de façon indépendante et prioriser les tâches multiples selon leur importance Capable de travailler sous pression et de respecter les échéances Forte attention aux détails Très bon niveau en langue française ; anglais souhaités Souhaitable : Bonne aptitude à communiquer dans les langues nationales dans les zones d'intervention (Hausa, Zarma, Tamashek, Fulfulde et/ou Kanuri) Expérience dans le domaine de la santé publique et avec les projets financés par USAID Connaissance de la zone d'intervention du projet Kulawa (Maradi, Tillabéri, Zinder) How to apply: Please follow this link to apply: https://www.aplitrak.com/?adid=c2JhY2hpci45NjY2Ny4xMjE4NUBzYXZldGhlY2hpbGRyZW5hby5hcGxpdHJhay5jb20 View the full article
  24. No one has been held to account in 81% of journalist murders during the last 10 years, CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index has found. By Jennifer Dunham/CPJ Deputy Editorial Director Published October 28, 2021 Somalia remains the world’s worst country for unsolved killings of journalists, according to CPJ’s annual Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where members of the press are singled out for murder and the perpetrators go free. The index showed little change from a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan, in that order, again coming in behind Somalia to occupy the worst four spots on the list, as conflict, political instability, and weak judicial mechanisms perpetuate a cycle of violence against journalists. More in this report Global Impunity Index tableInteractive mapDatabase: All journalists murdered for their workMethodology In other languages العربيةدریEspañolFrançaisहिन्दीپشتو PortuguȇsРусскийSoomaaliTürkçeاردو میں However, the latest data – which covers the period September 1, 2011, to August 31, 2021 – does not fully reflect the increased danger facing journalists in Afghanistan. Afghanistan ranked fifth, as it had in the previous two years. While the country’s spot on the index did not change, the situation on the ground for reporters deteriorated dramatically in 2021 as the Taliban took control in mid-August amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces and the flight of President Ashraf Ghani. Hundreds of journalists fled the country because they feared the Taliban’s brutal record on press freedom and what its rule could mean for journalist safety. Justice for the 17 journalists murdered in Afghanistan in the 10-year index period was already elusive, and impunity for killers there may now become as entrenched as it is in Somalia and other nations atop the index. Afghanistan’s judicial system is collapsing, with reports from Afghanistan saying that courts are closed, lawyers are fleeing the country, and female judges have been forced into hiding. In addition, Taliban leaders appear even less likely than Afghanistan’s previous government to respond to local and international calls to end the country’s culture of impunity for crimes against journalists. Promises made by the Taliban’s leadership to protect press freedom rang hollow within days of the takeover as its fighters carried out scores of violations against media workers, including beatings and arbitrary detentions. And given that at least two of the five journalists murdered in 2020 – Radio Azadi reporter Elyas Dayee and freelancer Rahmatullah Nikzad – had received threats from the Taliban prior to their deaths, there seems little chance that Afghanistan’s new Taliban government will seek out the killers. Afghan journalists also remain at risk of being targeted by Islamic State militants. The group claimed responsibility for an April 2018 suicide bomb attack targeting the media that killed at least nine journalists, as well as the retaliatory murders of journalists such as Malalai Maiwand in late 2020. In the weeks after the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover, ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s local affiliate, said it was behind a series of deadly attacks – including one at Kabul airport and others targeting the Taliban. During the 10-year index period – a tumultuous time that includes Syria’s civil war, widespread protests against Arab governments, and attacks against media workers by extremist groups and organized crime syndicates – 278 journalists were murdered for their work worldwide. In 226 of those cases, or 81%, CPJ recorded complete impunity, meaning no one has been convicted in connection with the crime. For the previous index period (September 1, 2010, to August 31, 2020), CPJ found that 83% of journalist murders were unsolved, continuing a recent trend of incremental progress in solving cases. In “The Road to Justice,” a 2014 examination of the causes of impunity in journalist murders and possible solutions, CPJ found that the killers went free in nine out of 10 cases between 2004 and 2013. Illustrating the endemic nature of this lack of accountability, all 12 of the countries on the index have featured multiple times since CPJ first ranked the data in 2008, and seven have appeared every year. Mexico holds the sixth spot on the index for the second straight year. Despite key convictions in the murders of journalists Javier Valdez Cárdenas and Miroslava Breach Velducea in 2020 and 2021, the media continue to be targeted at an alarming rate. As of August 31, CPJ research found that at least three journalists were murdered in Mexico for their work with complete impunity in 2021; four suffered that fate in 2020, second only to the number murdered in Afghanistan. Globally in 2020, at least 22 journalists were singled out for murder in retaliation for their work, more than double the total for 2019. For 2021, the number of murders is tracking closely to last year’s, but political volatility in Afghanistan and other high-risk nations makes the final 2021 total difficult to predict. Global Impunity Index Index rankCountryPopulation*Unsolved murders1Somalia15.9 252Syria17.5 213Iraq40.2 184South Sudan11.2 55Afghanistan38.9 176Mexico128.9 277Philippines109.6 138Brazil212.6 149Pakistan220.9 1210Russia144.1 611Bangladesh164.7 612India1,380.0 20*In millions. Source: World Bank’s 2020 World Development Indicators Bangladesh improved one spot in the index this year, to 11th, due to convictions in February in the 2015 murders of secular blogger Avijit Roy and his publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan. Several members of the banned militant group Ansar al-Islam were sentenced to death for their roles in the killings. (CPJ does not support the death penalty and has urged Bangladesh to hand down “humane” sentences on appeal.) The year 2021 also saw sentencings or positive developments in two other high-profile murder cases, involving countries not ranked on the index. In Malta, businessman Yorgen Fenech was indicted in August for his alleged role in the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a move that Corrine Vella, the journalist’s sister, called “a turning point in the pursuit of justice.” In February, one of the alleged killers pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for Caruana Galizia’s murder. And in Slovakia in June, the Supreme Court canceled the acquittals of two defendants in the 2018 murder of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, reversing a setback in the pursuit of justice for another journalist who – like Caruana Galizia – was killed for his reporting on corruption in the European Union. Methodology CPJ’s Global Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2021, and remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. CPJ defines murder as a deliberate killing of a specific journalist in retaliation for the victim’s work. This index does not include cases of journalists killed in combat or while on dangerous assignments, such as coverage of protests that turn violent. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained, even if suspects have been identified and are in custody. Cases in which some but not all suspects have been convicted are classified as partial impunity. Cases in which the suspected perpetrators were killed during apprehension are also categorized as partial impunity. The index only tallies murders that have been carried out with complete impunity. It does not include those where partial justice has been achieved. Population data from the World Bank’s 2020 World Development Indicators, viewed in September 2021, were used in calculating each country’s rating. Jennifer Dunham is CPJ’s deputy editorial director. Prior to joining CPJ, she was research director for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press reports. View the full article
  25. Hadrian/ShutterstockIn recent decades, people in the UK have watched climate change shift from being an abstract threat discussed on the news to an increasingly common presence in everyday life. As the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather events has risen, so has public concern about climate change. A 2019 poll found 80% of people were fairly or very worried, while a more recent survey ranked climate change as the most important issue. People are more engaged with the climate crisis than ever before. But how well do they understand it? And which sources of information do they trust the most? We wanted to understand where the public gets much of its information on the topic and what the most effective ways of keeping people informed are. We surveyed more than 1,700 adults living in the UK and found that almost half the sample were unable to correctly identify 50% of fake climate change news headlines, and almost half (44%) of all respondents were unaware of how often they encountered misinformation online. These numbers suggest that people need more guidance on how to effectively spot misinformation, and how to find reliable information about climate change. What we found Working with YouGov and The Conversation, we asked 1,722 people to read five real and four fake news headlines about climate change. Almost half (46%) mistakenly believed that “Scientists disagree on the cause of climate change” and 35% incorrectly thought that “Scientists believe the Sun has impacted the Earth’s rise in temperature”. However, a majority of respondents also correctly identified fake headlines such as “Carbon dioxide levels are tiny. They can’t make a difference” (70%) and “Melting an ice cube in a measuring cup full of water doesn’t raise the water level, so melting icebergs cannot raise sea levels” (68%). Over half of respondents correctly guessed the real headlines “More than one million species are at risk of extinction by climate change” (65%), “Earth had its second warmest year in recorded history in 2019” (62%), and “The worst impacts of climate change could be irreversible by 2030” (55%). But only 15% knew that “Switching to jet fuel made from mustard plants would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 70%” was false, and only 34% were right in thinking that “Enough ice melted on a single day to cover Florida in two inches of water”. We also asked people how much trust they had in certain sources of climate change information. While online influencers (6%), social media outlets (7%), tabloid newspapers (13%), politicians (20%), journalists (30%), broadsheet newspapers (37%), and broadcast media outlets (38%) were among the least trusted sources, the vast majority trusted academics (67%) and their own friends and family (59%) to convey information about climate change that was trustworthy. Academic researchers were the most trusted source on climate change. Maridav/Shutterstock A majority of those we surveyed thought accurate reporting was important, with 78% saying that climate change misinformation is very or fairly damaging to efforts to tackle the climate crisis. When asked about media coverage of climate change, 39% claimed that media reporting overall was too abstract, with excessive focus on the future rather than the issues of today. Similarly, 29% thought media coverage was confusing, citing too many conflicting opinions (55%) and a distrust of politicians (55%) and news outlets (54%). Finally, the majority of respondents (59%) were worried about climate change, with an even larger majority (80%) reporting a general willingness to make relevant lifestyle changes to stem the crisis. What this means Despite widespread awareness of the problems caused by fake news, many people we surveyed didn’t recognise their own role in this process. While large majorities worried about the effects of climate change misinformation and said that they didn’t share it themselves, 24% reported hardly ever fact-checking the information they read. This could suggest the public aren’t sure which sources are reliable, making them more vulnerable to the very misinformation they see as damaging to the cause of tackling climate change. Clearly, more can be done to educate people on how to distinguish real from fake climate change information. One way to do this is through a process called inoculation, or prebunking. Just as vaccines train cells to detect foreign invaders, research has shown that stories which pre-emptively refute short extracts of misinformation can help readers develop mental antibodies that allow them to detect misinformation on their own in the future. Recent work has even used games to help people detect the larger strategies that are used to spread misinformation about climate change. Although social media companies such as Facebook have started to debunk climate myths on their platform, politicians and social media outlets appear to have an untrustworthy reputation. This was not the case for sources with perceived expertise on the topic, such as scientists. We therefore recommend that the trust held towards experts should be harnessed, by more frequently disseminating their views on social media and in traditional media outlets. In our survey, only 21% of people understood that between 90% and 100% of climate scientists have concluded that humans are causing climate change (99% according to a recent paper). Decades-long campaigns by fossil fuel companies have sought to cast doubt on the scientific consensus. Media messages should therefore continue to communicate the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Through years of research on the topic, we have identified several ingredients for trustworthy science communication. These include prebunking myths and falsehoods, reliably informing people (don’t persuade), offering balance but not false balance (highlight the weight of evidence or scientific consensus), verifying the quality of the underlying evidence, and explaining sources of uncertainty. If communicators want to earn people’s trust, they need to start by displaying trustworthy behaviour. Mikey Biddlestone's research is funded by a Cabinet Office Infodemic Grant. Sander van der Linden has consulted on this research for The Conversation and receives research funding on misinformation from the UK government, Google, and the EU Commission. He consults on climate misinformation for Facebook. View the full article
  26. Country: Kenya Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Closing date: 10 Nov 2021 Social Media Producer UNHCR Global Social Media Section Global Communications Service Division of External Relations (DER) Title: Social Media Producer Duty Station: Nairobi, Kenya Duration: January 2022 to December 2022, with possibility of renewal Contract Type: UNOPS - ICA (equivalent to P2/NOB grades) Closing date: 10/11/2021 Reports to: Senior Social Media Officer – Geneva (P4) Organizational context UNHCR’s Global Communications Service (GCS) generates and maintains public interest and support for people forced to flee: including refugees, IDPs, and stateless among others. GCS produces and engages in strategic communications and content so UNHCR can lead the narrative, generate empathy and mobilize action. It employs a wide range of multimedia tools, working across text, photos, video, online and social media platforms for distribution and placement. It may communicate in collaboration with other UN bodies, civil society actors, Goodwill Ambassadors and high-profile supporters, as well as the forcibly displaced and stateless people themselves. UNHCR’s Social Media Section works seamlessly across several major time zones. The Social Media team is responsible for promoting and generating public interest in the whole of UNHCR’s work with an emphasis on storytelling to generate help for, restore and maintain hope for, and eventually facilitate the return home of refugees, other who have been forcibly displaced, and stateless people worldwide. The Position The Social Media Producer will support the creation of compelling social media content for UNHCR’s global channels. This role plans, develops and implements eye-catching, relevant and action-orientated social media content strategies for daily community engagement. The incumbent will have good political and editorial judgement, technical content production skills and keen audience awareness. They will be a strong copywriter with a creative mind, across all the latest social media trends and industry news in order to influence UNHCR’s content direction. In addition to the day-to-day, they will have an opportunity to work on thematic social media campaigns or partnerships with platforms and media partners. Reporting to the Senior Social Media Officer in Geneva, who in turn reports to the Chief, Social Media Section in London, the incumbent will also be a member of the multi-functional Content Hub in Nairobi. Day-to-day work will involve liaising with teams and colleagues in HQ in Geneva and across UNHCR’s Division of External Relations, Regional Bureaux and 130 operations worldwide. Duties and responsibilities Creative Content Creation Support the planning, development and implementation of compelling day-to-day social media content in English for UNHCR’s global channels. This will include content relating to international days, news and emergencies, trending topics, amplification of refugee and stateless voices, and evergreen content on thematic issues. Draft engaging social media copy for UNHCR’s global social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Assist in the production of visual content (including graphics and GIFs) for various platforms. Assist in the production of Instagram Stories, Reels and TikTok videos. Assist in the production of multimedia Medium pieces. Support the development and implementation of social content strategies to effectively reach target audiences via UNHCR’s global social media accounts. Support social media strategies/plans for milestone communications efforts, campaigns and key moments/events. Coordinate and support the development of social media packs, working together with the team’s graphic designer, social video producers and editors, and drawing on UNHCR’s extensive photo and media library. Contribute to the smooth running of the weekly content calendar for UNHCR’s global social channels, actively coordinating with team members and using planning, project management and scheduling tools including Trello and ContentCal. Monitor and respond to trends by adapting existing evergreen content or swiftly creating new content, in order to position UNHCR as a leading voice on issues relating to its mandate, and to reach and engage new audiences. Contribute to UNHCR’s refugee-led strategy to identify and amplify refugees, displaced and stateless people on social media, including by amplifying their posts and by co-creating content with them. Support high-level message and branding consistency in social media content and platforms. Contribute to the refining of UNHCR’s editorial style and voice on social media, working closely with colleagues. Contribute to the translation of global English social content into other languages. Support internal communications as required, including distribution of social media packs within internal networks and for key partner networks (NGOs, donors, UN family etc.). Community Management / Audience Development Act as team focal point for community management: including social listening, monitoring and responding to comments, analyzing audience sentiment and soliciting feedback with existing and target audiences. Monitor and moderate social media channels, flagging risks and opportunities to deepen engagement. Improve the social media team’s agility to tap into relevant media or social media moments that relate to UNHCR's mandate. Coordinate with other members of the social team on carrying out community management. Provide community management training to communications officers and social media managers from other UNHCR teams. Maintain and update the UNHCR community guidelines, troubleshoot and respond to inquiries, and coordinate with the Digital Engagement Team on managing comments on paid ads. Keep track of activities of other UN agencies and non-profit partners, identifying content to be amplified and shared on UNHCR’s platforms.** Support the development of social media partnerships. Support in the production of analytics reports and provide recommendations on tactics to improve UNHCR’s social media presence. Monitoring and Impact of Results UNHCR closely tracks the performance of each social media post to identify effective messaging, formats and strategies. Materials developed by the Social Media Producer will be measured for impact and efficacy. Effective content: high-quality social content exceeds goals for engagement, views and traffic with target audiences; content is delivered in a timely manner to allow ample time for translation, distribution and amplification by offices and partners. Monitoring and evaluation: clear and strategic KPIs are established or followed; analysis is undertaken to continuously improve the effectiveness of social media communication strategy, marketing efforts and activities; results and reports are prepared and shared. Personal performance will be assessed on an ongoing basis and against the roles outlined above, through career development goals, mid-point reviews, training, regular informal feedback, and an annual formal assessment. Qualifications and professional experience Education Required: A first-level degree in the fields of public relations, journalism, communications, media, international relations or related. Language Fluency in English is required. Fluency in a second UN or other language is an asset. Experience - Required Minimum two years experience creating social media content and managing large social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn, including community management. Experience managing large accounts for an international organization is a plus. Proven ability to write flawless, tight social copy on constant deadlines, and strong social copy-editing skills. Ability to translate technical and nuanced information into clear, emotive and engaging content for broad public audiences. Extensive experience in process and workflows. Project management experience/qualification a major plus. Familiar with social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Medium. Experience in reporting on quantitative and qualitative social analytics and using insights – including through external tools – to drive audience development. Proven news sense and understanding of what motivates younger audiences – and editorial judgement. Strong ability to manage multiple priorities within specified timeframes. Awareness of social media communication behaviours in low- and middle-income regions/countries. Experience - Desirable • Working on a geographically diverse team, using digital workspaces (e.g. Slack) as an active member of a team with fast-paced work. • Dealing with reputation issues, risk mitigation and crisis communications situations. • Identifying trending news stories and social media conversations and implementing tactics to join. • Understanding of digital marketing and fundraising strategies a plus. • Experience of capacity-building and training, delivering training programmes (especially online) is a plus. • Experience in working for the UN, UNHCR or with International NGOs or global organizations is an asset. • Familiarity with refugees, statelessness and forced displacement issues is an asset. • Familiarity with Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud applications, especially Photoshop and Premiere Pro. How to apply: To learn more and apply, please visit https://bit.ly/3pINJUl The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees). This vacancy is open both for applicants residing in Kenya and for those residents of other countries. The remuneration level and the applicable entitlements and benefits may be different based on the residence status of the most suitable selected candidate. View the full article
  27. On October 2, 2021, a group of police officers in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, detained and assaulted Armando Nenane, a reporter with the privately owned Imprensa Paralegal news agency, which distributes content to other news outlets, while he covered a road accident, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview and posted about the incident on Facebook. Nenane filmed victims of the accident on his phone for Imprensa Paralegal, posting photos and video to his Facebook page. At 10:30 a.m., about an hour and a half after the accident, two vans carrying about 10 police officers arrived and the officers approached him, the journalist told CPJ. The officers surrounded him and confiscated his phone before five of them took him by foot to the nearby Ninth Police Station. At the station, officers demanded Nenane unlock his cell phone and erase footage he recorded of police arriving at the scene, Nenane told CPJ. When he refused, one of the officers slapped him in the face. Nenane said he protested, that officer left, and then another officer told the journalist he needed to present his press documents if the footage was not to be erased. After about 30 minutes, Nenane’s wife brought his press card and identification to the station, and the officers returned his phone and released him without charge. Upon leaving the police station, Nenane returned to the scene of the accident to continue reporting, but officers detained him again and took him back to the same police station in a police van. At the station, officers handcuffed him and held him for about 15 minutes, until he was released again without charge on an order from a higher-ranking officer, Nenane said. A news crew with the privately owned TV Sucesso broadcaster was at the scene of the accident and saw Nenane being taken by officers the second time, according to Nenane and Romeu Pascoal, a reporter with TV Sucesso, who was not at the scene but was familiar with the incident and spoke with CPJ over the phone. One of the TV Sucesso reporters told police that Nenane was a journalist and should be released, but officers ignored their requests, Nenane and Pascoal said. “This sort of abuse from authorities is frequent,” Nenane told CPJ. “This is how journalists are treated by authorities in Mozambique.” CPJ has documented numerous arrests and official harassment of journalists in Mozambique in recent years. Reached by phone, Maputo police commandant Fabião Nhancololo told CPJ on October 19 he was not aware of Nenane’s detentions and would investigate and contact the commandant of the Ninth Police Station. Nhancololo also told CPJ he would share contact information for the Ninth Police Station chief, but failed to do so and then did not respond to subsequent calls and messages. View the full article
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