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Journalist wins prize for article on the Church in India

Journalist wins prize for article on the Church in India

Brussels, June 12th, 2017 (Ucan). Freelance Indian journalist Umar Manzoor Shah has won a European Commission 2017 Lorenzo Natali Media Prize. Shah, who won the prize in the Asia Pacific amateur category, was recognized for his story "Church in Kashmir offers hope to people with disabilities," a story reported for ucanews.com from conflict-torn Jammu and Kashmir state on church efforts to help people with disabilities. The Kashmir native said his experiences whilst growing up during the conflicts in India's only Muslim majority state resulted in an early interest in journalism, and that he has been collaborating with radio and local TV stations since he was 15 years old. Shah, who was born in 1986 in Srinagar, the state capital, graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2009 at the University of Kashmir and has since been pursuing a career as a freelance journalist. Writing for several press outlets such as ucanews.com, Inter Press Service and the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, his stories cover mostly social issues in war-conflicted areas, giving a voice to affected populations. His stories focus on giving a voice to those from deprived parts of society, such as mental illness among the people living in conflict zones like Kashmir, stories related to poor women and disabled children, and farmers struggling for survival. Shah collected his prize at the awards ceremony in Brussels on June 7.    
Humanity, accuracy and accountability are key principles when covering migration

Humanity, accuracy and accountability are key principles when covering migration

Zagreb, May, 31st, 2017 (EuropeanJournalists). Twenty-five journalists from 12 countries gathered in Zagreb (Croatia) on 26 and 27 May to attend a workshop on the theme “Reporting Refugees, Migrants, Ethnicity” co-organised by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA). Croatia had little contact with migrants from the Middle East until 2015. But the country is now welcoming some migrants and the media, as well as the population, are experiencing some difficulties in dealing with it. The participants, all working on migration issues in their own countries, were given a regional outlook of the situation of migration and hate speech in Croatia. Two Iranians seeking refuge in Croatia exchanged with the journalists and recalled the need to follow basic journalistic rules, such as anonymity if requested and transparency about what is intended to do with the reportage, as these mistakes can have important consequences on the persons fleeing the country or their families. Donya and Shayan Spanta also presented the Staze magazine, self-proclaimed “Asylum Seekers’ and Refugees’ Newspaper in Croatia”, in which they give voices to migrants – where media are failing. A majority of journalists attending the workshop expressed their difficulties in covering such a sensitive topics. “Should we focus on positive stories? How to deal with children? How to find accurate data?” The need to tell the full story and to give facts to faces was addressed by Ann Singleton, researcher at the University of Bristol and Maeve Patterson, communication officer at the UNHCR. Both emphasised the importance of using the right terminology, understanding numbers  and putting facts into context. In addition, three best practices were showcased: Hate Speech: 5-points test for journalists developed by the Ethical Journalism Network. “What is the status of the speakers, what will be the reach of the speech, what is the intention, the content as well as the economic, social and political climate of the speech? These are the five questions to be asked in the preparation and dissemination of news which will help to place what is said and who’s is saying it in the context”, said Aidan White. The Charter of Idomeni written by the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH). It is a code of ethics for journalists, which aims to improve the way journalists report about migration issues in order to change the negative narrative refugees and migrants are currently facing, explained Yannis Kotsifos. The programme WDRforyou is broadcasted by the German public television since the Cologne assaults in 2015. It reports about and for refugees and provides practical information in four languages (Arabic, Farsi, English and German). Janina Werner showed some examples of reportages and gave some advice about what is best to do / not to do as a journalist covering migrations. In working groups, the participants explored three issues: (1) Reporting responsibly; (2) Digital/data journalism and (3) Media narratives: Telling the full story. As one important outcome of all working groups was the huge need or hunger for training and further training, in particular for freelances who become the front runners when it comes to reporting migration. Training on how to cover minors, on language, on cultural differences, data journalism, on attracting new audiences,on how to best use social media etc.. The workshop took place in the framework of the Media Against Hate project which aims to counter hate speech and stereotypes in the media, through the promotion of ethical standards and fair media reporting. It is funded by the European Commission.