Sheffield Hallam University welcomes future journalists for international summer school on press safety

Sheffield Hallam University has welcomed the next generation of media professionals from across the world as part of a summer school aimed at equipping them with the knowledge to safely tackle complex legal and ethical challenges.

By Alana Roberts
Wednesday, 03 July, 2019, 21:11
Panel speaking on the issues of women journalists in hostile locations at the Sheffield Hallam University journalism Summer School

The international summer school, which took place between June 24 and 28, was designed to guide the students on staying safe while reporting in potentially hostile situations, accessing credible information, and assessing the nature of risks. 

Panel speaking on the issues of women journalists in hostile locations

There were a number of workshops, group and independent study sessions on offer throughout the week alongside lectures by keynote speakers and discussions around topics such as media capture and the values of free and independent journalism along with a panel on violence and abuse against female journalists.

Students were also asked to create their own mini-project to present at the end of the week. 

Course leader for the summer school and the MA international journalism course at Sheffield Hallam, Dr Lada Price, said: “The idea is to equip students to work in an environment, whether it be in this country or abroad, which has become increasingly hostile and dangerous for journalists. 

“We just want to make sure they know what awaits them out there and just to highlight that journalism is a important profession but it does carry some risks. The more prepared they are the better chance they’ll have at getting a good story and being safe and that is really important for their physical safety but also their safety online, mental health and wellbeing generally.”

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Dr Price, who is also co-director of education at the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the University of Sheffield, added: “We had theoretical discussions on the importance of press freedom and constraints such as censorship and hate speech. The speakers were really keen to get the student’s view and engage them in a discussion because they are the future generation of journalists.”

The programme follows an initiative led by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), which aims to support education institutions to develop projects and curricula focused on safety and impunity in journalism.

Guy Berger, Director of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, said: "Journalists need to be free of fear of attack if they are to speak truth against the power of emotion-driven disinformation and associated intolerance. When journalists need bodyguards in order to do their work, it should prompt us all to stand up for press freedom."

The summer school was open to undergraduate and post graduate journalism students, young people over 18 with an interest in studying journalism and those studying journalism related subjects such as press relations or politics. 

It was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) and was funded by the Global Engagement Curriculum programme, part of Sheffield Hallam University’s Go Global fund which encourages students to broaden their learning and enhance their skills undertaking an international activity.