Webinar: Defending and advancing human rights

Join IMS on World Press Freedom Day, where four editors and press freedom advocates from Palestine, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Somalia will explore how journalism can be a tool to safeguard and advance human rights.

On World Press Freedom Day, we invite you to a discussion on the role of free media as both a defender and driver of human rights.

The webinar will take please on Zoom. Please register here.

With democracy backsliding in large parts of the world and propaganda and disinformation being propelled by authoritarians and populists alike to skew our perception of reality, independent media are playing a key role in investigating human rights violations and providing populations with truthful information.

Freedom of the press works as a driver for all human rights. Around the world, we’re seeing how authoritarian leaders are actively undermining the free press in an effort to limit – and subsequently pollute – the public information sphere and by that hinder accountability efforts and mobilisation among the public.

A free press is the very foundation that enables an informed public to shape opinions, address societal issues and demand their rights.

In a one-hour session we will hear from journalists, editors and press freedom advocates from Palestine, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Somalia to understand how human rights are coming under attack in different parts of the world and explore how journalism can be a tool to safeguard and advance human rights.

In the session you will meet:

Wafa Abdel Rahman, founder and director of the Palestinian NGO and media advocacy organisation Filastiniyat. In recent years, Wafa Abdel Rahman and Filastiniyat have seen an increase in attacks on Palestinian journalists and media. In the first three months of 2023, The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documented a total of 148 violations against media freedoms, and with last year’s killing of prominent Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh journalists are facing extreme threats as they continue to cover increasing violence and human rights abuses in the country. Wafa Abdel Rahman will describe the threats that journalists are facing in Palestine today and will talk about how journalists can act as human rights defenders.

Yanina Korniienko, journalist at Ukrainian media Slidstvo.info. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Yanina and her colleagues have been investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of Ukrainian children and other horrors that take place in Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia. Their work includes an award-winning multi-media project that lays out the stages of Russian occupation by telling the story of Kupiansk, one of the first Ukrainian cities to come under Russian occupation. Yanina Korniienko will describe how the kidnapping of Ukrainian children has become part of the Russian playbook in occupied areas. She will also introduce to us the journalistic methods that she and her colleagues are using in investigating the disappearances of Ukrainian children.

Zaki Daryabi, editor-in-chief at Etilaatroz. For ten years, the Afghan newspaper Etilaatroz was the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Kabul covering politics, exposing corruption and critically analysing the security situation in the country. When Kabul fell in 2021, the journalists continued to cover events in the capital, but when the newspaper was targeted and journalists from the newspaper were violently beaten up by members of the Taliban, Zaki Daryabi and his team members had to plan for their escape. With the Taliban in power, Zaki Daryabi will give an account of the current human rights situation in Afghanistan and will explain how Afghan media continue to keep people informed from exile.

Mohamed Ibrahim Bakistaan, president of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and a long time New York Times reporter. For more than 10 years, Mohamed Ibrahim Bakistaan covered events in his home country Somalia before he relocated to Finland seven years ago. Here he co-founded the press freedom advocate group Somali Journalist Syndicate (SJS). Mohamed Ibrahim Bakistaan will talk about the violations that journalists are experiencing in Somalia, including the arrest last year of Abdalle Mumin Ahmed, the Secretary General of SJS, and will show how journalists in the country are still able to share impactful stories.

The webinar will take please on Zoom. Please register here.