How (not) to work with whistleblowers, threats to journalism around the world, and the ‘right to be forgotten’

Our personal weekly selection about journalism and innovation.

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Edited by Marco Nurra


Watch all #ijf19 sessions on-demand: media.journalismfestival.com


New York Times faces backlash after revealing details about whistleblower. The New York Times is facing criticism over its decision to publish revealing details about the whistleblower whose explosive complaint, which raised concerns about Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president and the White House’s apparent attempts to cover it up, was made public on Thursday. Readers, including those who work with or within the intelligence community, national security experts and advocates for whistleblower protection, expressed concern that the decision compromised the individual’s safety.

The growing threat to journalism around the world. In many countries, journalists are being targeted because of the role they play in ensuring a free and informed society.

The story behind the Times correspondent who faced arrest in Cairo. “For decades, major American news outlets figured they could count on their government to do everything it could to help reporters abroad when they found themselves under threat. We no longer work under that assumption. President Trump’s near-daily attacks on the press, and his use of the loaded term ‘enemy of the people’, gives succor to autocrats like Mr. el-Sisi who view the free press as an irritant to be quashed.” Declan Walsh was an #ijf18 speaker:

Declan Walsh discusses threats to journalism on PBS. “The U.S., which was once the guarantor of press freedom for its own journalists and other country’s journalists, now seems to be stepping back from that role.”

Egypt authorities arrest 3 journalists, block websites amid anti-government protests. The protests, which started on September 19 in several cities throughout Egypt, decried corruption in the nation’s army and, for the first time in years, included calls on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to resign.

The resignation of Época’s management: a loss to journalism. The editor-in-chief Daniela Pinheiro has resigned from Época magazine (the second largest weekly magazine in Brazil) following controversy about an article which Epoca published about President Bolsonaro’s daughter-in-law’s business activites. Daniela Pinheiro was an #ijf19 speaker in a panel on how to protect journalists from political pressures:

https://twitter.com/journalismfest/status/1114195362460385280

Brazilian outlet AzMina faces criminal complaints, online harassment over abortion article. A São Paulo-based online magazine that covers women’s rights, published an article explaining safe methods for obtaining an abortion and the circumstances under which abortion is legal in Brazil, based on reporting and information from the World Health Organization. The following day, Damares Alves, Brazil’s minister for women, family, and human rights, tweeted that the article was “absurd” and promoted a crime. If charged and found guilty of “promotion of a crime” under Article 287 of Brazil’s criminal code, the AzMina journalists could be sentenced to a prison term of three to six months, or a fine. Under the criminal code, abortion is illegal with very few exceptions, and women found to have obtained abortions can face one to three years in jail. Since the article was published, two reporters at AzMina have had their names, photos, and home addresses shared on Twitter by unidentified accounts and, on September 20, the website was knocked offline for several hours.

Turkey: Bloomberg journalists on trial for report on economy. Two reporters for the U.S.-based Bloomberg news agency appeared in court on Friday accused of trying to undermine Turkey’s economic stability with a story they wrote on last year’s currency crisis.

Chinese journalists to be tested on loyalty to Xi Jinping. Chinese journalists will soon be required to pass a test grading their understanding of Xi Jinping Thought, the socialist teachings espoused by the country’s leader.

Family of murdered Maltese journalist raise concerns over public inquiry. The family of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the anti-corruption journalist killed by a car bomb in Malta in October 2017, have raised concerns about the impartiality of individuals appointed to lead a public inquiry into her death. They have requested an urgent meeting with the prime minister, Joseph Muscat, saying: “The board [of inquiry] will be unfit for purpose if the public has reason to doubt any of its wider members’ independence or impartiality.”

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi goes on prison hunger strike. The Saudi dissident has started a hunger strike as the conditions of his imprisonment have reportedly worsened. Saudi authorities arrested Badawi on the charge of “insulting Islam” in 2012, after he criticized the kingdom’s theocentric system and urged “freedom and respect” for differing ideas in his blog.

Facebook promises not to stop politicians’ lies & hate. Facebook’s head of global policy and communication and Former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK Nick Clegg said the platform won’t fact-check politicians’ speech because it might be “newsworthy”, even if false.

‘Right to be forgotten’ on Google only applies in EU. Europe’s top court says firm does not have to take sensitive information off global search. Thomas Hughes, executive director of the freedom of expression organisation Article 19, described the ruling as a victory for global freedom of expression. “Courts or data regulators in the UK, France or Germany should not be able to determine the search results that internet users in America, India or Argentina get to see… It is not right that one country’s data protection authorities can impose their interpretation on Internet users around the world.”

Google refuses to pay publishers in France. The announcement pours cold water on publishers’ hopes of getting more money from Google after an EU reform of online copyright law.

Treating individual donors and major givers alike, Mother Jones is on track to raise $25 million in its first major campaign. “It was really important to us to have the same kind of high-level conversation with somebody who gives $5 or $500,000.”


The International Journalism Festival #ijf19 On-Demand

Every week, one recommendation from the extensive programme of the last edition of the International Journalism Festival.

Today we are inviting you to watch “The Perugia Principles: new guidelines for journalists working with whistleblowers“. This session represents the global industry launch of The Perugia Principles – a new set of guidelines for journalists working with whistleblowers in the digital context published in English, Spanish, Greek, German and Russian. These guidelines were developed collaboratively with an international panel of investigative journalists and academics, and they take their name from the International Journalism Festival held annually in Perugia. The final 12 principles contained in the handbook, published in early 2019, were developed in consultation with Blueprint for Free Speech, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) at the University of Oxford, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the World Editors Forum within The World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and The Signals Network. This panel brings together the lead authors with three internationally acclaimed investigative reporters who will debate the Perugia Principles and their value to contemporary journalism.


(Photo via CNBS)