abeer safety video

Omnia Elalfy interviews Abeer Saady for Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism 

ARIJ makes safety advice video available in Arabic.

Abeer Saady, a war correspondent, media consultant and trainer, has about two decades of professional experience covering events in conflict areas in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Abeer has gained an international reputation for media development and training in conflict areas. During her tenure as Vice President of IAWRT, the association has carried out many training activities in countries in Africa and Asia.
IAWRT has already prepared the journalist’s safety handbook published by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television. In your opinion, what are the most important points regarding the safety of women journalists in this region that must be taken into consideration?
Journalists are exposed to two kinds of attack, first of all they are being targeted as a journalist. We know that the world has become a very tough place for media professionals of both sexes in general. Second, there is the gender-related attack, which includes more threats, to women journalists as women. Such threats include harassment, for example, harassment of journalists in the workplace, by sources, or electronic or digital harassment. There are also threats made to the journalist’s own family, which are more likely to be aimed at female journalists working in war and conflict zones.
In my field of work, I focus on the e-threat of journalism, because the world is relying on social networking platforms more widely now, and the journalist is always exposed to some kind of comment or attacks, across those platforms. Often threats to the press which begin via electronic means, may end up killing the reporter, in the worst circumstances. This happened to the Malaysian investigative journalist Daphne Karuana Galizia, who participated in the Panama Papers report, a large investigative project in which journalists from all over the world participated. Those who killed her started by sending electronic threats.
I would like to point out that any kind of harassment and electronic threat can be dealt with, and the media outlet in which the journalist works must take responsibility for those threats, and make sure that there are clear policies followed by women journalists in this regard, within each institution.
How can journalists and journalists deal with these risks?
Preparation is the key, and a journalist is professionally prepared. She or he should also prepare for it in terms of security … to ask what the risks are and who is behind those risks. In the case of press interviews, assess whether the meeting places are safe or not. Because of her or his identity, such as nationality, gender and race, assess whether or not identity issues can be hidden or dealt with, or if they are inherently unchangeable, the journalist therefore decides not to do so.
The journalist must take into account all the details during the execution of her or his journalistic functions, as a means of moving to the site of the event, the paths s/he takes along the way, the question of surveillance, whether it is electronic and whether there are cars following or not. It is important that the journalist does not publish all the information on electronic communication platforms and classifies information according to sensitivity and privacy. Finally, I would like to emphasize the psychological integrity of the journalists. If you are conducting an investigation like the ARIJ network, these investigations put us under great psychological pressure, and we have to know that the person is a doctor to her or himself. Do not forget that we also have to live a normal life alongside the professional life..
Based on your experience … What are the most important skills that need to be available to a journalist specializing in war and conflict areas?
The most important skills are those related to journalistic work in general, along with good experience and constant attendance at the occupational safety courses, as well as constant access to the latest things related to this, even the first aid courses, these things became necessary, and there are many courses related to mental and physical safety, First aid courses, and most importantly, the journalist has the skill to assess risks and how to deal with them.

A video in Arabic with Abeer’s advice to investigative journalists is available from ARIJ Network on Facebook 

Key Video Points 

  • It is wrong to think that investigative reporters are in less danger than journalists covering conflicts
  • An investigative reporter should start his/her mission by a identifying risks and do a good needs assessment
  • She/he should do profile management because some aspect of profile may endanger her – a gender issue, for example
  • Then build a good communication plan to make sure the editor or colleague is following up every time she does a dangerous assignment
  • Travel safety means moving around to collect data of the story.
  • legal safety is very important for investigative reporters -verifying information and data is a must as a heavy price may be paid for any fault.
  • All information should be archived and kept even after the report is published
  • Don‘t publish information from your investigative report or exchange it on social media until you are finished -then publish it.

Finally Abeer stresses that safety comes first and that there is no story that is worth our lives, pointing to the death of famous colleagues such as Daphne Galizia and Gauri Lankesh



csw flier jpeg (2)

Over 50 people attended a panel discussion – Community Media Models for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Assessment – ­ on March 14, 2019 – a parallel event organized by the IAWRT- USA chapter and held during the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

The event occurred as a dozen US states in the northwest experienced flooding destroying infrastructure and farm land, Cyclone Idai pummeled the southwestern African countries of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe leaving hundreds dead and a humanitarian disaster in its wake, and flash floods hit Thailand.

by Rebecca Myles, IAWRT- USA

The panel discussion focused on how community media could take a role during the time of climate change disasters and if it could, what form would it take and what would be needed. 

Frieda Werden, founder of Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS) and a member of the IAWRT-USA chapter, moderated the panel. She said in a climate disaster “you need to be able to communicate and to communicate your needs,” when introducing the first speaker, Susan Raybuck of KWVH 94.1/FM Wimberley Valley, Texas. She was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast during a climate emergency on a low powered FM radio. (pic Susan & Freida)

“I live in an area where there is a lot of drought, wild fires and flooding,” Susan said and explained her frustration not knowing what was happening in 2011 when 430 wild fires broke out in Wimberley and her weekly newspaper was behind a paywall and there was no information on the internet. 

Four years later Wimberley Valley had its worst flood in recorded history when waters reached 43 feet high, swept away a major bridge and destroyed 400 homes, displacing hundreds of people. She went on Facebook to start sharing information about the disaster until the internet went out, and access to other media was either unavailable or spotty. She decided radio was something they had to have. Through the help of Austin Airwaves, a group run by Jim Ellinger, who sets up radios all over the world in countries like Cameroon, she was eventually able to set up a low powered FM radio station.

Olivia Tumanjong is a former presenter on Cameroon National Radio and Television and is now a member of the US chapter.She said community radio in Cameroon started by UN Women creating radio stations in early 2000. Radio stations were set up by UNESCO in rural communities for women, which sent out message about women for women and by women; at the height of the program there were somewhere between 100-200 stations. The stations worked for a long time before the media landscape changed and opened up to private media – before that only there was state owned media. Many of the UNESCO radio stations lacked funds and had to seek corporate funding becoming commercialized, and often gave out information that benefited funders rather than public. 

Tumanjong said the country suffers from landslides, the disruption of Mount Cameroon and also conflict situations.

“We don’t have those early warning stations to warn the people, to warn them what is about to happen and what they should do to stay safe,” said Olivia Tumanjong.

Olivia described how in September/October 2018 community radio functioned in an unorthodox, political way, during the conflict between Cameroon’s English speaking and French speaking parts of the country. She said the people were cut off from communication, little was coming from the mainstream media leaving them to depend on local community radio stations. She said a divisional officer put out an announcement asking people of 26 communities in the English speaking part of Cameroon to move out of their villages because the government was going to clamp down on them, causing a massive refugee movement of people, around 10,000 to head to Nigeria for refuge.

“Imagine if this information was geared to informing the people about an impending disaster, that these radio stations were owned and managed by the people so they could decide on the content for their development and protection; general information is supposed to help them as a community for self-improvement,” said Olivia.

Through a multimedia presentation, Jola Diones-Mamagun, President, IAWRT Philippines (pic right with IAWRT US President, Sheila Dallas Kazman ) described the chapter’s disaster response and rehabilitation community media mobile project run by women and created to respond to the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan. The Typhoon with gusts in excess of 300 kph, hit the central region of the Philippines in 2013 leaving more than 6,000 dead, 1,000 missing, displacing a million people and destroying property.

“We began our disaster mobile project in 2015 for the typhoon survivors, most of them could barely talk because of the trauma,” said Jola.

On video Peggy Berryhill General Manager of KGUA Public Radio, 88.3 FM, Canada from Native American Media Resource center said they broadcasted for five days on KGUA radio, 13 hours straight on the air, when Santa Rosa, Canada was devastated by wild fires, and they carried fire and sheriff department press conferences five times a day, after fire destroyed cell towers and there no internet, and no telephone.

Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye, chapter head from IAWRT Uganda welcomed the room by drumming, and later talked about the devastating losses when rains come to Uganda and often as many as a 100 people die and farms and schools get washed away.

Frieda Werden said in Canada there is a campaign underway to get telecom companies to turn on the FM chips on cell phones. The chip is an FM receiver and doesn’t require WiFi to operate and connects to local FM radio stations. It also uses fewer resources, 30% less data use and three times less battery use. the chip used to be standard on android mobile phones.

NextRadio app lets you connect as well. click here

For the full discussion please scroll down to March 15 to watch the live broadcast


Her Africa! Film Screenings:

From South Africa our chapter is building a “movement dedicated to the promotion and celebration of African Women Filmmakers and building a cultural institution that will empower her to position herself most powerfully” through HER Africa monthly film screenings in Johannesburg.

The chapter’s idea is for people “to come and honour and meet hard working womxn film-makers, enjoy their beautiful and prolific art and enjoy an intimate conversation with them about filmmaking.


In March a new web-series had its world premiere in Johannesburg. It is the first web-series to feature in the chapter’s bi-monthly pop-up cinema. ‘Single Diaries of a Jozi Girl’ is from scriptwriter & novelist, Tshego Monaisa.


The diarists are: Lesedi, a dancer who is dating her dance partner, Nicholas. When Lesedi realizes that Nicholas considers her nothing more than a “dance partner with benefits,” she breaks up with him. She meets Thato, an investment banker who is besotted with her but when Thato asks Lesedi to open up a dance school together, Lesedi thinks that Thato was using her to benefit his career. However, this is not the case, and she has to learn to trust him.


Mmule, a daddy’s girl who wants to be a writer but her mother, MaKutlwano and sister, Lerato don’t approve of her career choice. Her father, Moshe, who later dies, is however, supportive of her. Lerato sets Mmule up with her colleague, Patrick but it turns out that he is secretly gay so they become friends instead. Mmule meets Kabelo, a musician and poet who she falls in love with, but MaKutlwano and Lerato disapprove of him. Mmule eventually encourages Patrick to live his truth, and he in turn encourages her to stand up to her mom and sister. She does, and goes after Kabelo, the love of her life.

Lastly ther is 29 year old Tracey, who has not been on a date in ages. She’s worried that if she turns 30 whilst still single, she might have to to resign herself to life as a spinster. She is desperate to settle down, so she decides to go on a date with anyone who asks her which sees her go on a number of dates with hilarious consequences. When she meets 45 year old divorcee, Sthembiso he offers her security and stability, which is what she wants, but she soon realizes that she is still unhappy, so she decides that she would rather be single than unhappy.


Bi- monthly screenings – home cinema/instant cinema installations have been organised in 2018 and 2019 and have been increasing in popularity.


The 2019 pop up cinema had a roaring start with the well attended January screening of Nom’Ay Matola’s poignant ‘The things we harbour’.  She wrote and direcyed the short film about two brothers, estranged for many years, who are forced to confront their traumatic past when they reconnect to arrange their mother’s funeral.

Produced by Natives At Large in association with Jungle Works, under the Youth Filmmaker Project II.

Keep up with HER Africa pop up festival on Facebook Instragram or Twitter


The Global Investigative Journalism Network resource list for women journalists. Click here.

A sefety video for journalists with Abeer Saady now available in Arabic

prezi pic greta GMP

IAWRT Handbook on Working Towards Gender Equality in the Media: IAWRT & the Gender Mainstreaming Project, written by Greta Gober, has been launched in Norway at an event entitled, #MeToo-and now what? organised by IAWRT Norway. The book written by Greta Gober, showcases IAWRT members’ experiences and best practices for working towards the advancement of gender equality in media.

Based on the on-the-ground running of such initiatives by IAWRT Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and India. the booklet is now available in our publications section.

It showcases the vastly different ways in which IAWRT chapters worked towards those aims through efforts or strategies with film, radio and television women. Some initiatives were in consultation with media outlets, and most included training, mentoring, and sharing of knowledge to enhance the advocacy of women’s rights Click here for a visual presentation of the GMP project and the handbook in brief.

 “We [IAWRT] hope it will inspire many of you, our colleagues in the so-called global North, to learn from these examples” Greta Gober says, “but also that it will encourage us to continue sharing experiences of our collective efforts to make gender equality in the media a reality!”

The Norway launch heard from a freelance photojournalist Marte Vike Arnesen and Professor Kristin Skare Orgeret who presented their research findings on how the #MeToo movement and debate have unfolded in Norway and played out in Norwegian media. Greta Gober says the Norway gathering was another example of sharing experiences of working towards gender equality in the media.

“I wish us all more occasions to meet and celebrate our small and large victories,” she said.

The handbook is structured around the two Gender Mainstreaming studies that IAWRT conducted in 2014 and 2015 – the Gender Mainstreaming in Broadcasting (GMB) Survey available here, which revealed how harassment was one factor in reducing the number of women who remain in media workplaces – and the Gender Equality and Social Justice (GE) Monitoring which looked at representation of women and marginalised groups in programs aired by public broadcasters.

The handbook is divided into two parts, as suggested by the UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media

  1. Actions to foster gender equality in media organizations
  2. Actions to foster gender-fair portrayal in media content

The work presented in the handbook begins with countries in which the Gender Mainstreaming Project was first launched in 2014, and covers strategies used until 2018.

The most recent phase of the GMP project in 2018-9 has focused on broad gender equity issues, equal employment and safety for women in the media industry. More details here. 

Greta Gober says the handbook will be of interest to individuals and organizations concerned with gender equality in the media who are looking for inspiration on how to advance that objective. “Media organizations, media and journalists’ unions and associations, academics and research centers and institution should find this handbook of interest.”

“As a member of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) IAWRT hopes that this handbook will inspire our colleagues in the global North to learn from these examples and be prompted to continue sharing their own experiences of our collective efforts to make gender equality in the media a reality” she said. 

The GMP project was made possible by the support of Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) and UNESCO-Norway.