6th September 2016
By Tom Law

Hate speech, migration, and media ethics workshop for East Africa and Lakes region


21 – 22 October 2016 Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala, Uganda

The Ethical Journalism Network and the Uganda Journalists Union welcome you to this workshop for leading editors and senior journalists from the East Africa and Lakes region.

We hope that this meeting will enable us to share ideas on how to improve how media report on migration and hate speech, as well as consider how ethics can be taught to both working journalists and students of journalism using new resources developed by the EJN.

The importance of improving coverage of migration and tackling hate speech online were two of the issues highlighted at this year’s Abuja meeting of Federation of African Journalists, which was attended by the EJN’s African Representative, Racheal Nakitare.

Other conversations with media leaders in the region and the upcoming election period in some of the countries in the region make the timing especially opportune.

Friday 21 October 2016

09:00-10:00 Official Opening Ceremony

  • UJU President
  • FAJ representative
  • Representative IFJ Africa office
  • Representative Norwegian Embassy – TBC
  • EJN Africa Representative – Racheal Nakitare
  • Ugandan Minister of Information, ICT and Communications

Morning Session – Migration Reporting

10:00-10:30 Keynote Address

  • Eric David Nampesya, a journalist from Tanzania, will share his experiences and thoughts on migration reporting in East Africa for the BBC Swahili service.

10:30-11:00 Coffee/Tea break

11:00-11:30 FILM – A Sea of Images

“Sea of pictures” is a documentary about how the images of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler who drowned with members of his family trying to trying to reach Europe. The photos of his dead body washed up on a Turkish beach became a symbol of the refugee crisis but also raised many ethical issues about how media cover migration and the use of such images.

Thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe over the last two years. But most people only know the name of one; Aylan Kurdi.

On September 2, the photo of the Syrian toddler washed up on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey went viral on social media. A day later it was on the front page of newspapers worldwide. Since then media have called image ‘iconic’. Politicians and others have attempted to use the photograph for their own ends and to further their agendas. Supporters and opponents of a more generous refugee policy have also tried to embrace Aylan Kurdi as a symbol of their cause.

Over seven months on from Aylan Kurdi’s death, A Sea of Images, a documentary film by the Dutch public broadcasting programme Media Logic, asks:

  • What is the significance of such an image in the refugee debate?
  • Why did this particular picture come to symbolise the refugee crisis?
  • Who was inspired by this? And who benefited from it?

The film explores both the ethical choices made by journalists that published the image as well as the impact it has had on policy and wider attitudes to migration.

11:30 -12:00 Plenary Session

  • Tom Law – Director of Communications and Campaign EJN
  • Eric David Nampesya – BBC Tanzania

The EJN’s director of communications and campaigns, Tom Law will chair a open debate on the issues raised in the film and in Eric David Nampesya’s keynote speech.

12:00-13:00 Workshop – Migration and ethical reporting

Ethical Journalism Guidelines for Migration Reporting

Afternoon session – Tackling online hate speech

14:00-14:30 Keynote Address

  • How hate speech led to the Rwandan genocide – Edmund Kagire (RJA)

14:30-15:00 Panel Discussion – How to tackle online hate speech

  • Racheal Nakitare – EJN Africa Representative (Chair)
  • Edmund Kagire (RJA)
  • Hala Al Karib – Director of Strategic Initiatives for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network)
  • Other panelists will include representatives from the IFJ, FAJ and EAJA

15:00-17:00 Workshop on online hate speech

  • 15:00-15:30 Country reports – EJN Africa Representative, Racheal Nakitare will chair a discussion on online hate speech with contributions from all countries taking part in the meeting.
  • 15:30-16:00 Groups session – Groups will be tasked with devising ways to tackle online hate speech
  • 16:00-16:30 Coffee/Tea break
  • 16:30-17:00 Presentations – Groups present ideas on how to tackle online hate speech

17:00-17:30 Concluding session

  • Summary of the first day by rapporteur from UJU
  • Plans for Day 2 discussed
  • Background material for the next day’s module distributed to all participants

Saturday 22 October 2016 – Morning Session

09:00-09:30 Conclusion of any other business from previous day

09:30-12:30 Workshop – Teaching ethics: Choices and consequences (with coffee breaks)

This course is a slimmed down version of the course taught by Dean Wright, who is a journalism instructor at Western Washington University in the United States and president of Connell Wright Media. Dean is an editorial adviser for the EJN and is the former global ethics and standards editor at Thomson Reuters.

The aim of this course is to give working journalists grounding in ethical theory that can be applied in journalistic situations. The EJN wants to test some elements of the course in order to inform how we can improve it and make it more relevant to the African journalists. First the course looks at ideas around “what is truth” looking at ethical theories and a variety of real life ethical dilemmas. We will then how these apply to our outcomes as journalist and impact on codes and guidelines. The focus on the ethical context is important, we believe, as journalists often tend to use their gut without really knowing why or if it really does address the dilemma at hand.

We will then look at the following case studies and dilemmas that illustrate use of ethical theory and journalism guidelines:

  • Bearing Witness: The Intervention Dilemma. Racheal Nakitare wil explore the choices made by Reuters photographer Goren Tomasevic while covering the attack on the Kenya Mall Terror attack in 2013
  • Reporting in the social stream. Tom Law will lead this session on best practices for journalists on social media and issues of privacy.
  • How can journalists cover tragedy in a responsible way and still get the story? Tom Law will lead this session on crisis reporting, post-traumatic stress and interview techniques with vulnerable people.
  • Using ethical theory and journalism ethics guidelines to make a decision. Racheal Nakitare will invite participants to put themselves in the shoes of Radio Buddu who had to balancing the guiding principles of journalism, seeking truth, minimizing harm and acting independently when deciding how to cover Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law.

12:00-12:30 Forum to discuss future collaborations and feedback on the event.

12:30-13:00 Closing ceremony

Aims and Objectives

  • To provide training on how to cover issues of minority rights, migration, and hate speech.
  • To raise awareness of how to use the tools and resources created by the EJN (5 point test for hate speech and 5 point test for migration) as well as to deliver a new ethics training module being developed by Dean Wright, the former global ethics/standards editor, of Reuters.
  • To engage with editors and journalists and share best practice on dealing with hate speech and intolerance in the region. The meeting will discuss whether existing guidelines and codes of conduct are adequate or need to be amended, as well as how to implement existing guidelines.


  • 50 editor level and senior reporters from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania with a focus on exiled journalists.