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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Safety Matters: Research and education on the Safety of Journalists in cooperation between Norway–Brazil–South Africa and USA.

Alternative title: Safety Matters: Forskning og utdanning om sikkerhet for journalister i samarbeid mellom Norge – Brasil – Sør-Afrika og USA.

Awarded: NOK 10.0 mill.

The project Safety Matters will bring together scholars, journalists and safety specialists to create an internationally leading research and educational environment to address major societal concerns related to the safety of journalists. Threats and violence against journalists are on the rise. Every four days, a journalist or media worker lose their life due to their work. Covering war and conflict is dangerous, but also investigative journalists and whistleblowers who uncover power abuse or large-scale (financial) criminality are particularly vulnerable. Female journalists face many of the same challenges as their male colleagues, as well as a number of others directly related to their gender. The project?s main activity is the creation of the first international PhD course focusing on the safety of journalists. Scholars and students from the partner universities in Brazil, Norway, South Africa and the USA will share experiences and develop digital tools. The doctoral course will combine innovative digital teaching tools with a physical gathering organized in connection with OsloMet?s annual international conference on the safety of journalists. Collaboration with experienced journalists and safety experts from the New York Times, Brazilian Intercept, Media Monitoring Africa and the Norwegian Union of Journalists will strengthen the quality and relevance of the PhD course and research activities.

Safety Matters will bring together scholars, journalists and actors from the public sphere to create an internationally leading research and educational environment to address major societal concerns related to the safety of journalists. The activities will be organised around the collaborative effort to establish the first international PhD course on “the Safety of Journalists”. Both mobility of students and researchers and to continue to develop tools for better distance learning will be central. The team will consist of researchers and prominent journalists/journalist organisations from Norway, South Africa, Brazil and the USA. The qualifying project 'Making Transparency Possible' researches investigative journalism on illicit financial flows such as Lux Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Panama Papers etc. A rising concern emerging from the results of the project, however, relates to the safety and well being of whistleblowers and journalists. The safety issues are not limited to the Global South and countries typically featuring on lists of most dangerous countries for journalists, as both investigative journalists and whistleblowers are increasingly targeted also in Europe and North America. Furthermore, the gender dimension of journalists' safety is one of increasing concern. The safety aspects of investigative journalism were underestimated in the original plan for the qualifying project. However, overwhelming evidence demonstrates that unsafe environments for journalism lead to self-censorship and other safety related mechanisms that contribute to making transparency about finance and illicit financial flows virtually impossible. It would greatly enhance the results of the qualifying project, as well as strengthening journalism education and research, and investigative journalists' work in general, if we could understand better the safety aspects influencing public knowledge about illicit financial flows. This project is designed to help fill this particular need.

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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research