Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world, from failing democracies to despotic regimes. Global freedom, already at a 14-year low, is reaching new depths as governments use the pandemic as a cover to further restrict human rights and free expression. Journalists are on the front lines of this backlash, dealing not only with growing hatred but with a sustained attack on the very idea of verifiable facts.
Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) is organizing a free global webinar on ‘Investigating Autocracy: Strategies and Tips‘ on 29 October 2020 at 2330 hours IST. GIJN is bringing together four journalists from Russia, Egypt, South Africa, and the Philippines — all of whom championed independent media when democracy in their countries fell under siege. They have reflected on the role of watchdog journalism in a climate of authoritarianism and will share strategies for staying effective and true to our profession’s highest standards.
Lina Attalah is co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website that is one of the last remaining voices of independent media in Egypt today. Before that, Attalah wrote for Reuters, Cairo Times and the Daily Star, and also for Egypt Independent, which was shut down by the government. She was named one of the most influential people of 2020 by Time magazine.
Nic Dawes cut his teeth as an investigative and political reporter in South Africa and went on to become editor-in-chief at the Mail & Guardian and chief content and editorial officer at the Hindustan Times. Until recently the deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch, he serves on the boards of Coda Story, amaBhungane, and the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism.
Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of 12 books, including ‘Surviving Autocracy’ and the National Book Award-winning ‘The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.’ Shortly after the 2016 US elections, Gessen wrote an influential article, ‘Autocracy: rules for survival’ in the New York Review of Books.
The session will be moderated by Sheila Coronel, professor of journalism and director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. During the era of Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos, she co-founded the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and served as its executive director.
This webinar will also be offered in Arabic and Russian.