THE JOURNALISM SEASON IN LONDON
This season I'll be committing the ultimate crime making journalists the story and putting the media industry in the spotlight! The London episodes are all inspired by topics from the Future News Worldwide conference which I attended between July 14th to 18th amongst 100 other journalists, activists and dreamers at Reuters Headquarters.
I took the mic along with me to hear what my fellow ambitious young watchdogs plan to change and how they'll use journalism as their tool. The six following episodes debate how to improve journalism further, the drawbacks of mass communication and repairing democracy with a free press.
Before we jump on the Eurostar train to London together, listen to the introduction episode below for some background on FNW and hear highlights from speakers!
One trip to London, 104 friendships and thousands of questions richer
Episode 1 - Third wave feminism and beauty standards in Venezuela
One of my first encounters in London was with the exuberant Diana Cid, who introduced the topic of beauty standards in her home country, Venezuela, where the narco culture and the beauty pageant "Miss Venezuela" play key roles in forming social norms for appearance. The ideals she grew up with in Venezuela, reminded me of what I was currently reading about in Naomi Wolf's legendary "The Beauty Myth".
When Diana described her experiences, I started to wonder how a concept such as 3rd wave feminism is possible to fully implement in societies that haven't fully thrived off the benefits from the 1st and 2nd wave yet.
Diana is an awesome feminist, a tech journalist and Radio reporter, who has lived in Europe, South and North America.
Episode 2 - Media Freedom Part 1/2 | Democracy, journalists' safety
& independent press with Fatima Moosa
A theme that shined through amongst all the speakers at Future News Worldwide 2019, was the increasing concern for media's freedom and journalist's safety. Journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018.
As a result of this, the global campaign for media freedom hosted it's first-ever Ministerial Conference on media freedom in July 2019. This episode includes a short extract of Conference co-ordinator's Alistar King-Smith speech describing the details of the pledge made to fight media hostility.
FNW19's closing speaker was the courageous Sonny Swee who brought everyone to tears with his story of an 8-year-long imprisonment for publishing against the government's interest. Hear inspirational words from Sonny why he continues to publish and fight for media freedom after his release.
Lastly, I had a conversation with journalist for the Daily Vox, Fatima Moosa about her concerns going into an industry that's increasingly under attack and how she plans to use journalism to fight the decreasing trust in the media.
India is not yet like Turkey where journalists are being arrested in large numbers, Russia where journalists are being killed or America where the head of state publically calls the press "the enemy of the people". But the industry struggles to filter propaganda and lack funds.
India's president has held one press conference within the last five years, and the words “libtard” and “presstitute” are often used by governmental figures to describe the independent anti-government media.
India has recently drawn a lot of media attention because of the situation in Kashmir, and with that, I called up an Indian delegate to get a clearer picture on life as a female journalist in a country ranking 140 out of 180 on the freedom of press Index.
The episode also includes background information on India’s current media landscape delivered by Sreenivasan Jain, Managing Editor of NDTV and the anchor of 'Truth vs Hype', which focuses on political corruption, conflict zones social and economic tension.
Episode 4 - Digital media platforms and youth's representation in Tunisian
and global media
The boom of social and digital media has made the viewership landscape more polarized than ever before. The older generation watches TV and reads print newspapers but the younger generation tends to get their information from their laptops and mobiles on digital platforms.
I called up Imen Riahi to hear how's she's using media and journalism to bridge the gap between young people and traditional media by founding CreativenessTN and how she has given a voice to the young community in Tunisia. Imen's motto is "Youth for youth by youth".
The debate focuses on how the media and journalism industry can overcome the challenge an increasingly polarized viewership using equally different mediums. The different mediums cater to their individual audiences which leaves certain demographics miss-or underrepresented across all mediums.
Foreign correspondents continue to be a crucial part of journalism's scrutiny, as they ask critical questions and carry out analysis in foreign countries, where readers don't have eyes and ear themselves. Christina Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and bestselling author, who has reported from most of the world’s hotspots. Christina introduces this episode by explaining the continued need for foreign correspondents to bear witness to reality.
This episode's guest, Sipa Nihad's, initial reason for becoming a journalist was the major difference she saw between the reality she experienced every day and the representation she saw of it in the media.
In 2017, more than 220 LGBT+ people were killed in Iraq, and since 2003 there have been annual “killing campaigns” in Iraq aimed at LGBT+ people. The LGBT community is often dismissed by their family, society and country. Homosexuality itself has been legal since 2003 but same-sex marriage or civil unions are illegal. LGBT persons do not have any legal protections against discrimination and are frequently victims of vigilante justice.
Episode 6 - Using journalism to create awareness and educate
on environmentalism in Uganda
This Final episode of the London season contains some self-reflection on the FNW19 conference and my own place in the journalism industry. FNW is not only the cornerstone of these podcast episodes but it truly restored my trust in the work that journalists do and reminded me what crucial change quality journalism can make for an individual, a country or a world...
Channel 4 News Anchor, John Snow, kicks off the episode by explaining the opportunities a conference like FNW provides aspiring journalists like myself, and the episode’s guest Arinaitwe Hedwig.
Arinaitwe and I share a mutual passion for environmentalism. So after FNW19 I called her up to hear how she uses journalism to create awareness and educate on environmentalism in her home country Uganda.
Uganda is blessed with fertile soil, regular rainfall, and strong year-round sunlight, providing the perfect conditions to become a green economic powerhouse, powered by organic agriculture and clean energy. Uganda faces many environmental challenges as a consequence of trying to create a sustainable future for its citizens in the 21st century which impacts the livelihoods of many Ugandans.