IMS’ recommendations for the International Journalism Festival 2023

Join us in Perugia or online for the International Journalism Festival 2023

The International Journalism Festival (IJF) 2023 has begun. During the next three days, the beautiful town of Perugia will host a myriad of events covering everything from reporting on queer lives to climate journalism, collaborative investigations and AI.

As always, IMS partners and collaborators are all over both the city and the programme – making sure that local perspectives and challenges are always represented in the global discussions.

Here, IMS recommends interesting events at this years’ International Journalism Festival:

Thursday, 20 April, 10AM

The Chilling, a major global study produced by UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), found a clear link between online violence and offline harm. 20% of survey respondents and dozens of women journalists interviewed by the researchers described offline attacks, abuse and harassment that they connected to online violence. There is now an urgent need to mitigate the surge of online violence into the physical world.

So, what can be done to monitor, predict and ultimately prevent the escalation of online violence?

In this session, Julie Posetti – the lead author of The Chilling and computer scientist Diana Maynard will present a new set of research-informed indicators for gendered online violence escalation and a companion monitoring tool for gendered digital attacks on journalists developed for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Research underpinning these new tools focuses on emblematic gendered online violence cases like prominent Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, and the terrifying accounts of journalists like Northern Ireland crime reporter Trish Devlin – both of whom will join this panel discussion.

If you are interested in this topic, IMS recently published a learning brief on online gendered disinformation and sexist hate speech. Find it here.

We have also gathered a number of recommendations to media outlets on how they can protect journalists facing abuse. Read more here.

Thursday, 20 April, 11AM

The work of investigative journalists and human rights researchers is vital to holding accountable perpetrators of war and conflict. This reporting work is painstaking and takes years, and must be of the highest standard, especially if it is to stand up in an international court of law. Journalists and human rights researchers alike have differing views on collaborating with legal authorities, but there is a need for in-depth investigative work to complement the work of war reporters. It is essential to safeguard evidence of atrocities, preserve the testimony of survivors and build a trail of accountability. 

In this session, Anna Babinets from IMS’ Ukrainian partner will be talking with Sam Dubberley of Human Rights Watch, Sarah El Deeb from AP and Anne Koch from Global Investigative Journalism Network. They will tackle some of the critical issues of in-depth and investigative reporting in war and conflict. It will also share some of the best methodologies and tips to ensure accurate and impactful journalism that both calls the perpetrators to account and protects the victims and survivors of war.

Thursday, 20 April, 2PM

Women’s leadership representation in the independent journalism sector in the Arab world is high especially when compared to their representation within the leadership of mainstream media. How does this reality relate to women’s empowerment within the sector and their position within societies that have seen great upheaval in the past years? What are the cultural and societal challenges they face and how are these further impacted by working within security challenged contexts? And in light of their experience, how can we create a roadmap for better, safer further inclusion of women as leaders of the media sector in the MENA region and beyond?

Having worked in the MENA region for 20 years, we seen first hand how women have been a driving force behind developing and protecting independent and free media outlets in countries that are notoriously known for the lack of press freedom. Join IMS partners, Rawan Damen from ARIJ and Diana Moukalled from Daraj. They will be in conversation with Fatemah Farag from Welad Elbalad Media and Nora Younis from AlManassa News.

IMS believes that women’s representation in the media landscape is crucial to further intersectionality and feminism in journalism. Curious about what we mean by that? Read IMS’ gender reader, Navigating a changing world: Media’s gendered prism, and find out more.

Thursday, 20 April, 5PM

Kyiv Independent is a partner of IMS and therefore, we have told the remarkable story of this young media outlet many times: The Kyiv Independent was founded in November 2021 by a group of journalists who were fired from their newspaper by a local oligarch for defending editorial independence. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Kyiv Independent was a young media startup with very little resources. Yet within days, it became the voice of Ukraine in the world. It gained millions of followers across various platforms. It has the biggest Twitter following among Ukrainian media, by far. It raised more money via crowdfunding platforms than any media outlet in Ukraine ever did and continues to grow the number of paying members. The story of the Kyiv Independent has been covered by nearly every major Western media. The outlet and its journalists won numerous awards. Its chief editor Olga Rudenko was featured on the cover of Time magazine, leading its “Next Generation Leaders” special feature. What’s behind its rise to stardom?

In this session at Perugia, the journalists from the Kyiv Independent will tell the story themselves.

Watch our video about The Kyiv Independent and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine here.

Friday, 21 April, 2PM

Why do most media outlets do not prepare for crisis, even if one is already knocking at their door? The recent past has shown how exposed media outlets are to sudden shocks and disruptions. Many have struggled in the last few years: violent conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, inflationary spirals and economic downturns. Crises which threaten media viability and continuity, in addition to already existing challenges of digital disruption, authoritarian political regimes, and eroding public trust.

Yet some media outlets can adapt quickly. They not only survive disasters but continue to deliver the information people need in times of crisis. And often go even beyond capturing new audiences despite the odds.

In this session, media managers from Iraq, Myanmar and Belarus will share their most successful strategies and shed some light on how to best encourage media to prepare for crisis.  The panelists work in war or in extremely hostile and sometimes violent environments for journalists. They have experienced massive digital threats, have had to leave their homeland for security reasons in some cases and successfully steered their organisation through those crises.

Saturday, 22 April, 12.35PM

Digital pioneer and fighter on the press freedom front line, El Salvador’s Carlos Dada is the 2022 IPI-IMS World Press Freedom Hero awardee. As editor-in-chief and co-founder of the pioneering online news site El Faro in El Salvador, Dada has faced extraordinary pressure from the government and criminal organizations. He was one of the most significant targets of the notorious Pegasus spyware surveillance.

Carlos Dada will offer important insights on press freedom and media innovation in El Salvador and across central America in conversation with IPI’s deputy director Scott Griffen.

The nominees for the 2023 IPI-IMS Awards will be announced on Friday 21 April. Follow IMS on Twitter to find out who will be nominated. Awards are handed out in Vienna in May.

Saturday, 22 April, 2PM

Recent international developments have highlighted the difficulties of media in exile, but the exodus of local media outlets in the face of repression is perhaps historical in scale now. On the other hand, the current technological situation makes them more efficient than ever before in terms of reaching their audiences. Despite the novel global relevance of exiled media, its landscape remains fragmented because of lack of knowledge of one another, language barriers, and the hustle of having to relocate and start operating in new countries and legal frameworks.

What are some of the challenges faced by exiled media outlets? How do digital platforms impact their ability to survive and face the attacks of authoritarianism? Can the experience of an exiled media outlet from Nicaragua be relevant to one from Russia and vice versa? How can coming together as a community further the cause of free press and access to independent media globally? NEMO (Network of Exiled Media Outlets) founders talk about their experiences, problems, and solutions, the significance of exiled media in the news landscape of authoritarian regimes, and what inspired them to found a network.


See the full programme of IFJ23 here. You can follow all sessions on the festival website, where live-streaming and on-demand videos will be embedded at the top of each session page in the festival programme and at the bottom of each speaker profile on the festival speakers page. You can also follow the live-streaming on the festival YouTube channel.