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IAWRT’s event, alongside the 61st Session of the UN Comission on the Status of Women will be held 10.30 am March 16, 2017 at the Armenian Convention Center (Cultural Center) 630 2nd Ave. New York. The President Gunilla Ivarsson will introduce IAWRT’s work at the NGO CSW Forum Parallel Event, entitled Women Making News in the Changing World of Work. 

It will involve screening parts of the 2017 documentary ‘Women making News’, which focuses on dangerous zones such as the Philippines, Cameroon and Bangladesh, along with challenges for Dalit women in India. A panel including executive producer Nupur Basu and a local producer involved in the project will lead discussions. 

AMS COVER 2017- Low Resolution_edited-2

AIBD in collaboration with its partners and international organisations is organising the Asia Media Summit (AMS). China will host the 14th AMS in 2017  in Qingdao, in the southeast part of Shandong Province.

Decision makers, media professionals, scholars, and stakeholders of news and programming from Asia, Pacific, Africa, Europe, Middle East and North America attend this annual conference.

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Ethics in the News

2017 may be yet another test of the corporate will of social media giants, with Facebook and Google making promises about cracking down on fake news.

So called fake news and unquestioning media reportage of the statements of politicians, regardless of the amount of truthful content, were exposed as big issues in 2016. That was in tandem with the scourge of confirmational bias – the human tendency to search for, interpret and recall information that confirms pre-existing beliefs. They are identified as big issues in the ‘do-it-yourself online communications world’ and are among the key issues addressed in Ethics in the News launched January 10 by the Ethical Journalism Network.

The easy to navigate report  by EJN  – a partner organisation of IAWRT- covers some of the global media’s challenges in 2016 and provides some ethical survival techniques for reporters. This includes some tips for journalists on using images, protecting contacts and identifying fake news in order to tell the truth.

The report looks at some of the crises of media coverage in 2016: media crackdowns in Turkey, the information war between India and Pakistan; hate-speech in Asia connected to regional tensions around China and Japan, conflicts in eastern and central Africa; the UK vote to leave the European Union and the US election of Donald Trump as President.

Thre is a focus on some positives in 2016 for ethical journalism; the global investigation of the Panama Papers, which EJN calls the corruption-busting story of  the decade, and a tribute to the bravery of whistleblowers.

 The full report is available here


The Population Reference Bureau* is inviting applications to its new Women’s Edition-Africa program*. Sub-Saharan African women journalists have until the end of January to apply.

The project will bring together senior-level women editors, reporters, and producers to examine topics related to women’s reproductive health and development in a weeklong seminar and study tour  in Africa in April 2017.

Women journalists from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia and the Democratic republic of the Congo are eligable to participate.

PRB will cover all seminar expenses, including travel, lodging, and meals. Successful participants from this group will be invited to another seminar/study tour in 2017, when they will be joined by an equal number of women journalists from South Asia.More information and application form.  

*The Population Reference Bureau, ia a private, nonprofit US based organization focusing on population, health and the environment. Women’s Edition is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).inks to

More information on other NGO funding opportunities.

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Respected Iraqi woman journalist held for 9 days

A respected Iraqi woman journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi was released by kidnappers in January, nine days after being abducted by gunmen from her home.

While she was missing, the French government applauded her courage, describing her as a journalist “who has notably worked to defend women’s rights and is renowned and appreciated in Iraq and beyond. She has also been active in exposing atrocities committed by armed groups.”

Afrah Shawqi is a veteran journalist who works for a number of international and local Arabic media media outlets, is an employee of the culture ministry, and a prominent critic of Iraq’s corruption and government mismanagement.

After her release, at a media conference, she said that she was put in a cell for nine days, blindfolded, and was interrogated concerning her journalistic career. Before her kidnapping she had written a stinging article on the Aklaam website in which she hit out at armed groups and some government officers, describing them as “weapons playboys” who “act with impunity” in Iraq.




AFP news agency

 She said that an unknown group of intelligence officers interrogated her about her journalistic activities and reporting on the site of the London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, as well as focusing on her posts on Facebook.

Some local media outlets have hinted at possible involvement of police or government sanctioned militias in the abduction, but to date there has been no announcement identifying or announcing any prosecution of the perpetrators.

Media support

On her release, conflict journalism trainer Abeer Saady, an IAWRT member, stressed how important it was that Afrah Shawqi had had support.

“Afrah dared to call the armed forced ‘militias’. This was her crime, to be terrified and kidnapped in front of her two kids. She is back after a big pressure over the Iraqi government to make the militia release her.”

Journalists gathered in central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square at around 10 a.m. every day in support of the kidnapped journalist. However, after a week they were subjected to Police violence when a group decided to move closer to the government’s headquarters to step up pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who had promised to “do the utmost to protect her, find her and capture the group or groups responsible”.

The move coincided with high security around the arrival of the French President François Hollande in the same area. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the use of violence to disperse the 200-people near the governmental ‘Green Zone’ entrance after many refused to return to Tahrir Square, where demonstrations are usually tolerated.

Qais Qasim, one of the journalists participating in the protest, said the police fired shots in the air and beat four demonstrators with the butts of their Kalashnikov rifles. One of the portesters was hospitalized in a critical condition.

“Iraq is already one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, so the police should be protecting journalists instead of posing an additional threat to them,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

According to RSF’s latest annual round-up, seven journalists were killed in 2016 in Iraq, The Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Iraq the second deadliest place for journalist after Syria in its journalist safety data. Iraq is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Often these international figures do not cover the full extent of the dangers for local journalists, and at least one locat report has suggested that last years media death toll was much higher. 

Abeer Saady says women journalists in the Middle East particularly need to know that they have support. “She is now free, but really how free she is to express herself again?

How free are other female journalists in Iraq or any conflict area to do real journalism?”


Afrah Shawqi: First Days of Abduction were Terrifying

Four injured during Baghdad protest about journalist’s abduction

Afrah Shawqi: Iraqi journalist kidnapped from Baghdad home

Iraq gunmen kidnap campaigning female journalist

Iraqi journalist Afrah Shawqi released by kidnappers