With travel restrictions and the issue of safety in the world struck by the humanitarian crisis, access to the field has become a major challenge for media practitioners and academics. In this workshop, I will try to reflect on how a journalist or academic can access their field remotely and still attempt to do the job as they would otherwise with their physical presence in the field. We will discuss how all of us can make contact, get in touch with strangers and thus, manage access to the field remotely. We will think and find ideas on how one builds trust with people and how to test their trustworthiness while remaining transparent about the whole process. Through this workshop, you will learn how you can work around the limitations of borders and boundaries utilizing digital tools. You will learn how to find gatekeepers and contact persons who can help you overcome the language barrier, lack of internet access, and other country specific challenges. The workshop will also provide an open forum for the participants to exchange and discuss their experiences and challenges with the group.
Workshop 1 // Remotely accessing the field and building trust with distant sources
Jignesh Patel is a fact-checker and Media & Information Literacy trainer at Alt News. After completing his Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism(MMCJ) from Gujarat University, he has been fact-checking claims emanating from social as well as mainstream media for close to three years now. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He currently is responsible for setting up Alt News‘ education initiative.
Workshop 2 // Mutual understanding - reflecting on perspectives and concepts
In a practical and interactive workshop, we will use films and lived experiences from the field to explore parallels and diverse perspectives and cultural practices that inform, impact and color our lives and work as researchers/academics and media practitioners – with the intent of developing some common ground and identifying best practices we can draw on in our personal and professional spheres. We will review a selection of films, reading/reference materials, and media stories, and use them as references; to be precise, we will explore identity and intersectionality, “to be cultures” which is Nepal and much of South Asia” and “to do cultures” like Germany and reflect how and why this determines our world views. We will revisit our understanding of concepts like fatalism, power, patriarchy, and paternalism and discuss how they inform and influence the north-south development and media narratives.
Ramyata Limbu is the Director of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (kimff) which she founded in 2000 with like-minded media colleagues. She has 30 years cumulative experience as a journalist, communicator and researcher working with community, national and international organisations. She is the Nepal correspondent for Al Jazeera English Television. She has co-directed and co-produced several award winning feature documentaries, including “Daughters of Everest” which followed the first team of all women, Nepali Sherpa climbers to ascend Everest, “The Sari Soldiers” about the conflict in Nepal told through the stories of six women, and, „Drawing The Tiger“, an intimate portrait of the price a Nepali family pays to educate their daughter. She is currently with Panos South Asia, a media development organisation which encourages and facilitates public discourse and debate, an alternative voice in the midst of mainstream views, on a range of issues relevant to the global south including conflict, environment, media pluralism, globalization, and, public health.
Workshop 3 // Reporting from within – challenging objectivity under oppression
This workshop seeks to revise the concept of objectivity in journalism and the role of documentation in shaping, transforming, or reinforcing social communities. It seeks to draw on the Palestinian experience as a case in point of the multi-layered dynamics within the sphere of reporting. It seeks to unpack the realities of populations under struggle as simultaneous “reporter and reported”, where the lines of being objective are unblurred. The workshop also seeks to engage with participants in the form of participatory discussions with reading assignments prior to the start of the workshop and reflection writing assignments during the workshop.
Mariam Barghouti is a Palestinian writer and researcher based in Ramallah. She earned a BA in English Language and Literature from Birzeit University, and an MSc in Sociology and Global Change from the University of Edinburgh. She worked as a journalist and reporter with a focus on the Levant, and published various sociopolitical commentaries from Palestine. Her reporting and analysis have been featured in Al-Jazeera English, the New York Times, the Guardian, Washington Post, BBC, and Middle East Eye. She has also undertaken monitoring and evaluation missions of humanitarian and development aid in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon for various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Barghouti is also a policy member with Al-Shabaka and provides consulting on context analysis and risk mitigation, advocacy, and creative direction.
Workshop 4 // The challenges of photojournalism
Drawing in from a decade of experience covering conflict and politics across the Middle East, as well as long term documentary work, the workshop aims at covering the practice of photojournalism and the challenges it faces today. It will also discuss the ethical aspect of a continuously developing and divisive field. We will talk about the process one has to go through as a photojournalist when working on stories – from the research of a topic to establishing contact and executing a photo trip, while maintaining a coherent visual narrative. Participants attending the workshop should have some interest in photography with background of politics and current affairs. Practical aspects could include producing a photo story or editing a timeline, depending on the participants‘ requirements.
Mosa’ab Elshamy is a a staff photographer for the Associated Press, covering daily news stories, as well as in-depth photo projects and social documentary work across the Middle East and North Africa. His work has been described as dedicated, humane and intimate. He is currently based in Morocco.