The emotional Toll on Journalists covering the Refugee Crisis

PURUGIA: (Thursday, April 12, 2018): the XII edition of International Journalism Festival 2018 has begun on Wednesday in Perugia, Italy. The University of Toronto Professor Anthony Feinstein presented existing and current research on the problems which journalists face during and after the coverage of refugee crisis. The presentation addressed stress, disorder, psychological problems, Trauma, emotional health problems of journalists who covered and covering refuges crisis, war zones and conflicted areas like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The impact of images and stories on extreme violence and its effects on newsroom. Anthony said that according to the UNHCR, there 21.3 million refugees in world. Almost 50% among them came from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. He claimed that 34,000 people displaced on daily basis. He said journalism has witnessed all the situation. The presented studies used encrypted data websites. They used journalist’s demographics, PTSD, depression moral injury, substance use and working environment as method in studies. They defined moral injury “the injury done to a person’s conscious or moral compass when that person perpetrators, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress their own moral and ethical values or codes of conduct”. He said that 114 journalists took part in the study. The study results claimed that low rates of PTSD, and depression and substance use found. The moral injury has been identified as problem. The moral injury is linked to demographic factors. Moral injury is also linked to work circumstances.

A freelance video-journalist Will Vasselopoulos also shared his experience about the coverage of refugee’s crisis in Greece. He said that it is extremely hard for journalists to cover vulnerable faces including children and women. He said, journalists have to do this kind of tough jobs and should try to be professional and reporting should be objective. Reuters London Bureau chief Helen Long also spoke at the session. She said that news business is hard now a days. She also said that the Internet has changed and transformed the journalism. She said many organizations are facing challenges with their limited resources and they have to produce lot of content within those resources. She also mentioned that when journalists received the chemical attacks in Syria phots and content, so it is depressing and challenging.

Muhammad Ittefaq