Lab 8 – Freedom of expression and information: what is the role of new media?
7 November 2023 - 14.30-16.30 / Room 6 Palais de l'Europe
There is no good life without freedom, and no freedom without access to trustworthy information. This is why independent journalist are one of the prime targets of authoritarian regimes and why one of the first casualties of war is the truth itself.
Documenting human rights abuses can be of immense importance for the healing and reconciliation process after the authoritarian regime is gone. Advanced technological tools can significantly enhance our ability to understand our blind spots, improve insights about our communities and help us make better, fact-based decisions. What are the best ways to counter suppression of independent journalism? How effective documenting of human rights abuses can prevent history from repeating itself?
In memory of Mohammad Al Jaja and Belal Jadallah Salem, whose lives were tragically cut short.
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Data-based approach to conflict prevention and management in Rakhine State - Knowledge Hub Myanmar (KHM)
Knowledge Hub Myanmar (KHM) is a non-profit research institute dedicated to promoting peacebuilding, stability, and democracy in Myanmar, focusing on doing research and policy advocacy in areas prone to conflict. The project seeks to be able to produce more robust situation analyses that are also informed by community perception. The specific focus on violent incidents in Rakhine State and the inclusion of community perception into the analyses distinguish KHM Violence Monitoring from similar projects by other organizations. Through this Violence Monitoring project, KHM established sustainable data collection and developed a well-structured and coded database of violent incidents in Rakhine State. It has worked to track the incidents, compile village demographic profiles, and lead spatial mapping and population data collection to better understand the dynamics.
Research Director, Data-based approach to conflict prevention and management in Rakhine State
Dr. Abellia Anggi Wardani is Executive Director of Knowledge Hub Myanmar and a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia. She received her PhD in Culture Studies from Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Her research interest ranges from peacebuilding, border, livelihoods, and community formation in Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China.
Freedom of Expression is a must! - Press House – Palestine*
Press House-Palestine* is an independent, non-profit Palestinian media institution, established through an initiative by a group of independent journalists to promote freedom of opinion and expression, support independent media and provide legal protection for journalists in Palestine*. "Freedom of Expression is a Must" initiative, aimed to strengthen freedom of expression in Palestine* by empowering journalists, promoting independent media, and fostering open dialogue. The project's goals include enhancing journalist safety, providing capacity-building programs, supporting independent media outlets, promoting freedom of expression, and advocating for media freedom and legal reforms. To ensure journalist safety, the initiative had conducted safety training workshops, establish a support network and helpline, and document violations against journalists while advocating for their protection. Capacity building programs offered training on investigative reporting, digital skills, ethics, and responsible reporting. To promote freedom of expression and dialogue, public events, seminars, and conferences have encouraged open discussions, diverse opinions, and collaboration with educational institutions for media literacy programs.
* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue.
Mohammed AL JAJA (23 Feb 1992 - 6 Nov 2023)
Fundraising Advisor, Press House Palestine
Mohammed Al JaJa has over 12 years of extensive experience in organizational development and strategic planning, focusing on freedom of expression issues and journalist protection. In his role as Fundraising Advisor at Press House - Palestine, he plays a pivotal role in advancing the organization's mission and objectives. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to advocating for press freedom and the protection of journalists in Palestine and beyond.
Belal JADALLAH SALEM (1 May 1978 - 19 Nov 2023)
General Director, Press House – Palestine
Belal Jadallah Salem, born in Gaza in 1978 with Palestinian nationality, holds a bachelor's degree in English literature, with an experience of 25 years in media field, founder, and General Director of Press House – Palestine; an independent, non-profit Palestinian media organization working in Palestine that seeks to promote freedom of expression, support independent media, and defend the rights of journalists. Also, an expert in media freedom concerns, a political analyst, and a member of the University of Gaza's board of trustees. He has held several jobs in the past, including director of media and international relations at P.A till 2006, and Head of the Palestinian Independent Center for Media Services till 2013. He has also served as a consultant for foreign media agencies and diplomatic institutions.
DDLD Living Archive - Defensores de la Democracia (DDLD)
The main goal of the organisation is to prevent violence against journalists in Mexico, one of the most lethal countries for reporters. The DDLD Living Archive is the first online, public, searchable archive that preserves, catalogues and aggregates the work of killed journalists in Mexico. Before they created the archive, the work produced by slain local journalists in Mexico was wither scattered in basements across the country or was quickly disappearing; most of this work was published by journalists who founded their own media outlet and published precariously. Some merely posted on social media, others had a blog or a website and some more printed and photocopied their own makeshift newspapers to offer around town. Their archive aims to preserve the work as a means to honor their legacy, while becoming a tool that we can analyze in order to find trends to better understand patterns of violence against reporters.
Alejandra IBARRA CHAOUL
Executive Director DDLD Living Archive
Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul is a Mexican journalist and author. She is the Executive Director of Defensores de la Democracia, a nonprofit working to prevent lethal violence against local reporters. Ibarra Chaoul holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her work has been published by Mexican and international media outlets. She has been a Toni Stabile fellow for investigative journalism, a Brown Institute for Media Innovation fellow, a remote resident for the Doing Thing with Stories program at ArtEz University, and a Dart Ochberg Fellow. She covered the trial against Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in New York for a Sinaloa-based outlet and published a book about it. Her second book is an essay collection where she explains the reasons violence against reporters is systemic in Mexico.
Diversity Atlas - Cultural Infusion
Cultural Infusion produces and delivers a range of innovative digital products and interactive education experiences that reach an annual audience of more than 350,000 school students across the globe, working closely with a diverse talent pool of artists and cultural educators. Launched in 2019, Diversity Atlas is the world’s first and only holistic approach to diversity data collection and analysis, and the only approach likely to lead to fully inclusive outcomes for any organisation creating strategies, policies and plans in their communities. It relies on a voluntary, anonymised, customisable short (4- to 5-minute) online survey that is instantly processed to produce a profile of an organisation’s collective culture. It has been implemented in at least 32 countries worldwide. Its database includes every known culture, secular and non-secular tradition and language, amounting to more than 42,000 identity markers. It also measures variety, disparity and balance within organisations. Diversity Atlas’s methodology and definition of cultural diversity were based on more than 300 literature reviews. Its data structure allows analysis of key metrics of diversity, including variety, balance, disparity and mutuality (the degree to which an organisation reflects a community), all concepts underpinned by algorithms. We continually improve and update our datasets in consultation with communities and subject experts.
CEO, Diversity Atlas
Peter Mousaferiadis is recognized as a thought leader in culture as a driver of progress, social cohesion, and innovation, with a career as a conductor and creative director of some of the largest intercultural productions. In 2002, he founded Cultural Infusion, which aims to create a culturally harmonious world through its brands, creative services, and award-winning digital initiatives. It has provided services to over 25 countries, and its education program in Australia reaches more than 350,000 students annually. His flagship product Diversity Atlas, a data-driven tool for measuring and understanding diversity in organizations is now being used by organisations throughout the world.
Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Will Cleas Nlemvo is a journalist based in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was born and raised. He is the founder and a member of Media For Peace, a digital platform that promotes democracy in the Congolese media landscape. His commitment to peace and democracy led him to work in Paris, France from 2019 to 2020 for the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, an international organization that represents countries and regions that share French as a common language. Its goal is to foster democracy and its values among its member states. Will Cleas Nlemvo is also an author. His first book, “Un Congolais, Paris et le Virus,” was released in 2022. It tells his own experience as a young foreign worker in France during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In my opinion, the true value of democratic principles is realized only when they become inaccessible. But unfortunately, this topic will be tabooed in the Belarusian political and media space for a long time to come. In light of this my mission is to inform the international community about the situation in Belarus and to find a way of establishing Democracy and Peace in the region. This mission is realized primarily through participation in international projects and events (such as the World Forum for Democracy 2023). At the same time, being a legal counsel, I face daily issues related to the protection of the rights and freedoms of people. And I’d like to think that this controversial experience will be useful to the forum participants.
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the Council of Europe