25th June 2017
By Tom Law

Combating Hate and Building Trust in Media to Create a Fair and Just Society

Following the EJN’s participation in a workshop for Sudanese journalists on hate speech and migration coverage in Khartoum organised by Al Jazeera’s Center for Public Liberties and Human Rights in May 2017, the following declaration was agreed to represent the outcomes of the event as an outline for future work.

Combating Hate and Building Trust in Media to Create a Fair and Just Society

Khartoum Declaration

Khartoum, May 10, 2017

We the journalists, editors and media professionals meeting at the workshop held at the Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum, Sudan, on 8-10 May 2017 to discuss hate speech and media ethics in Sudan.

Acknowledging that press freedom is integral to the building of free, just and democratic societies,

Recognising that hate speech against migrants, ethnic and religious groups is becoming increasingly important issue in Sudan,

Considering that African journalists unions and associations recognise that ethical journalism can play and essential role in deepening the understanding of the root causes of hate speech, its causes and its consequences in order to encourage a peaceful and tolerant society,

Insisting that hate speech, particularly against women, migrants and minorities, should always be exposed by the media, while promoting the values of ethical journalism as in inspiration for free expression and media literacy,

Believing that editorial stereotypes and media adopting dominant political narratives by populist leaders creates a distorted and wholly inaccurate image of some members of society,

Dismayed that media neglect of discrimination against migrants and minorities may reinforce these attitudes and that failure to cover diversity and in an ethical way erodes trust with audiences,

Convinced that media and journalists can play a positive role in holding governments and others to account and that media can put forward solutions and opportunities to the problems facing the region,

Calling on the media owners and editors to provide the resources and space for journalists to report independently and to expose hate speech,

We declare our support for the Ethical Journalism Network’s Turning the Page of Hate campaign and guidelines on migration coverage, and call on all journalists and media leaders to practice ethical, tolerant and inclusive journalism and to promote editorial action that will enable journalists to pursue insightful coverage of politics, development, conflicts, migration with the independence, humanity, impartiality and accuracy that the ethics of journalism demand.

Having considered the problems facing journalists and media in Sudan we further urge all media professional groups – press owners, editors, journalists, broadcasters and online media – to work together in support of this campaign, and we call for an action plan covering the following recommendations:

  1. Training and Newsroom Standards:

Sudanese journalists need to be empowered to have confidence to cover the issues of diversity, addressing the issues of hate speech:

  • EJN’s training modules on reporting migration, hate speech and media ethics to be shared and used by media organisations and journalism training institutions schools colleges.
  • Training and capacity building of journalists to help them understand the national and international legal framework and definitions of migration and hate speech by creating a glossary on hate speech in Sudan.
  • Support for journalists who cover sensitive stories especially when covering diversity as well as disputes and conflicts between communities, and are mindful of damage they may cause
  1. Improving Working Conditions

All media partners should work to create safe and secure conditions for the exercise of journalism.

  1. Special protection on human rights

All partners should work to strengthen human rights reporting in Sudan through co-operation between journalists and all stakeholders.

Finally, we thank the Al Jazeera Public Liberties and Human Rights Centre, The Sudanese Union of Journalists, the African Media Institute, International Press Institute and the Ethical Journalism Network for the organisation of this meeting and the United Nations Office of Human Rights for its support.

We urge them to broaden support for the campaign through further co-operation with media groups across to exchange information and work together to combat hate speech in media, improve coverage of migration and to use the ethics of journalism as an inspiration for free expression and media ethics.

Khartoum, May 10 2017