Media and Communications Webinars 2020

in ,
Media and Communications Webinars 2020
(13 July – 24 August 2020)

The Journalists and Writers Foundation organized Media and Communications Webinars for undergraduate students from diverse disciplines and young professionals to promote media ethics and discuss the  role of media in strengthening democracy from July 13 to August 24, 2020. 21 participants attended the Media and Communications Webinars from 7 different countries; Liberia, USA, Australia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The young professional participants were from the fields of journalism, education, political science, international studies, and intercultural dialogue.

The Media and Communications Webinars aims to strengthen the state of media freedom and promote the right to access information, knowledge, and data to strengthen democratic values. The purpose of this program is to create a platform to empower young professionals and undergraduate students of journalism, media, and communication studies by engaging them with experienced journalists to transform their theoretical knowledge into practice.

In the first week of the webinars, journalist Abdulhamit Bilici discussed “Editorial Independence: Why Press Freedom Matters?”. Bilici compared between authoritarian political systems with controlled media or democratic ones with press freedom. As an exiled journalist, he also elaborated on the crackdown of democracy in Turkey.

In the second week of the webinars, Yazeed Kamaldien, a freelance journalist from South Africa, shared his personal experiences on citizen journalism in an interactive session with the young professionals Yazeed covered comparative analysis between mainstream journalism and citizen journalism while discussing challenges and opportunities. Yazeed mentioned that he stopped working as a journalist for a  mainstream media organization and instead became a freelance journalist.

Our speaker in the third week was Prof. Barbara Selvin from the School of Communication and Journalism of Stony Brook University. Prof. Selvinto discussed the changing economics of news  based on the shift from the analog business model to the internet business model. She underlined that the shift in ad revenue has also caused many newspapers to shut down.Prof. Selvin highlighted the impact of this dramatic decrease in revenues as newspapers` ownerships consolidated.

In the following week of the Media and Communications Webinars, Dr. İsmail Sezgin, Director of Hizmet Studies from the UK, discussed the role of digital media in society. Dr. Sezgin focused on the topic of “What are positive and negative impacts and challenges of digital media?”.

In the last week of the webinars, Thembisa Fakude, Head of Research Relations of Al Jazeera Centre for Studies from South Africa, discussed the difference between traditional media and social media. He also focused on how dangerous it is for journalists to end up as activists. Thembisa said “There are lines blurred between journalism and activism. Sometimes journalists end up being activists and that is extremely dangerous, they lose their ability to report without being attached to the story.”