On the issues of covering the attacks on Charlie Hebdo

The front covers of today’s UK newspapers compiled by Nick Sutton (BBC). The Independent extended the list to include several other European newspapers.

In these dark days for journalism and freedom of expression, the media must take equal responsibility in the covering of cases such as yesterday’s attack on the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The words and phrases that are being used in many of these covers, the dichotomous world view that is continuously being reinforced throughout the cover texts, the paradigmatic use of us and them to explain the deeds of terrorists, further adds to already existing divides in society, rather than helping to close the gap.

Yes, we need and must call for freedom of expression and the press to be protected; there is no question about it. We have to show solidarity with our colleagues who are attacked and murdered for doing their jobs, everywhere. But alongside the demand for our right to express ourselves and to do our job without being harassed, threatened or murdered, we (the media) must also take responsibility for our reporting. Looking at some of these covers, it’s quite clear that “we are not all Charlie“, and that is indeed a problem.

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Voice and Matter conference

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Back from Berlin since last night and spending today in Roskilde, Denmark at the Voice and Matter conference, organised by Ørecomm Centre for Glocal Change, which I’m a part of. It’s a four-day a mixture of academic conference and cultural festival on media, communication and development. Above a photo from a panel on the role of media and communication in the post 2015 agenda. In proper ComDev manner, we have one of the panellist joining us from New York via Skype.

Moderation of ‘Journalists as observers or journalists’ panel in Berlin

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Yesterday I was in Berlin and moderated a panel titled “Journalists as observers or journalists”. It was a great and interactive discussion with war correspondent Simone Schlindwein, Human Rights activist Linda Walter and peace journalist Vanessa Bassil.

New York and Guelph with ComDev

Back from my latest trip, a work trip to New York, Toronto and Guelph with the ComDev crew. We had interesting meetings, wonderful weather and an overall good time. While in New York we visited New York University and Unicef to discuss future collaborations and projects.

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After New York we headed up to Guelph for a conference with the Glocal Classroom project that ComDev is a part of. We had a three-day seminar on Communication for Environmental and Social Change. This is me at the end of the first day, after having run a workshop with the university’s IT people on how we broadcast and produce our seminars in real time.

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