Reporting amid persecution & discrimination in Angola & India
Before you head for the weekend, here are tech and misinformation stories that our team picked from around the world.
As election approaches in Angola, the country has witnessed a decline in press freedom. Increasing incidents of persecution of media critical of the government, suspension of private channels and state management of channels pose the risk of state monopolization of information during election times.
A thrilling update from India - Writing With Fire, a documentary about Khabar Lahariya, a digital newsroom run by rural women has been nominated for an Oscar. The film highlights the challenges faced by these women reporting on various issues amid the hurdles of caste hierarchy and online attacks.
Other updates include a report on how vaccine misinformation spreads in Latin America and Germany’s pushback on Telegram users spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories and antisemitic content.
We also have an exciting update and opportunity from Ekta, an initiative Meedan is part of. Ekta will be running training and mentorship in fact-checking to support journalism students in acquiring skills to address online mis/disinformation in India.
If there are updates you would like us to share from your country or region, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
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The latest top stories
In an election year, press freedom declines in Angola (Global Voices)
Angola will hold elections in August 2022, and ahead of the polls, the country has seen a decline in freedom of expression and press freedoms. This follows the suspension of two major private television stations critical of the government, with the ministry in charge of telecommunications citing irregularities in the operations of these two stations.
“With [the 2022] elections approaching, President João Lourenço and his administration should promote a plurality of perspectives in the media and ensure that the state does not have a monopoly on crucial information for the public to make informed decisions.” - Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator at the Committee for the Protection of Journalists
Oscar-Shortlisted ‘Writing With Fire’ Documents Indian Women Journalists Who Beat The Odds To Create Reporting Powerhouse (Bloomberg Quint)
A documentary about Khabar Lahariya, a news-platform run by women from India’s Dalit group has been nominated for an Oscar in the best documentary feature category, highlighting the challenges faced by the most marginalized group in Hinduism’s complex caste hierarchy.
“They are the coolest women I have met, most hadn’t handled a smart phone but were taking a leap of faith. The film was shot over five years.” - Rintu Thomas, one of the two film makers.
“Imagine being a woman in these parts of India, and then try and imagine being journalist… As the cyber-world was colliding with caste and patriarchy, you had woman from the Dalit or Muslim community armed with a cheap Chinese-made mobile phone shining the light on society.” - Sushmit Ghose, who co-directed the film.
From Argentina to Mexico: This is how misinformation about vaccines in Latin America arises and spreads (Animal Politico)
Arguments against vaccination are diverse, there are those who point out that the vaccine is an experiment and they do not want to be part of it. Others who fully trust the capabilities of their immune system to fight the disease and others who indicate that the pandemic and vaccination are a conspiracy to control the population.
"There are different paths that disinformation can follow, many times it starts when they come from more or less organized groups" explained Olivia Sohr.
Then, explains Sohr, this disinformation goes to more massive platforms and social networks where it circulates between different groups. Such as private messaging services such as WhatsApp and Telegram. To then give way to more open social networks, where “people end up interacting with this false content ”.
Multiple channels belonging to a prominent German coronavirus-denier have been blocked, while a man in Bavaria is under investigation for spreading antisemitic content on the platform. Germany is punishing Telegram users who spread coronavirus conspiracy theories and antisemitic content on popular encrypted messaging service.
German researchers have found that extremists are using Telegram more frequently to spread hateful messages and gain new followers. A study in December by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue Germany found Telegram contributes to a "spiral of radicalization."
What’s new at Meedan
In 2022, Ekta will be running training and mentorship in the field of media literacy and fact-checking to support journalism and mass communication students in acquiring skills to address online mis/disinformation. These sessions will be conducted by seasoned fact-checkers from Ekta’s 6 fact-checking organizations – AFP Fact Check, BoomLive, Factly, India Today Fact Check, Vishvas News and The Quint – and Meedan. We welcome applications from journalism students in India and for more information visit Ekta’s website.