BIRN Summer School Day 2: Journalism in Exile

Posted on

On the second day of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting, participants were introduced to visual investigations and had a panel discussion on journalism in exile.

The second day of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting in Thessaloniki, Greece on Tuesday started with a session on open-source investigations entitled How to Expose Police Violence.

Marija Ristic, manager at Amnesty International’s Evidence Lab, explained how open-source elements and information can be used to analyse policing weapons and equipment.

Ristic also talked about journalists in demonstrations. “Journalists should be considered bystanders at protests. Any attack on them is generally not allowed, Ristic said.

Sam Joiner, visual stories editor at the Financial Times, talked about how to take a complex story and make it digestible.

“Visuals have to carry you through the story. Visual journalism allows you to understand stories differently. It requires lots of people to think outside the box,” Joiner told participants.

“There are two types of projects. Stories that use visuals to explain topics and themes that transcend the daily news agenda. And there are visual investigations, public interest journalism using visual evidence to break stories of global significance,” Joiner said before presenting the FT’s visual investigation into North Korean oil-smuggling.

The general secretary of the European Federation of Journalists, Ricardo Gutierrez, spoke about helping journalists in exile.

After Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine, “our first reaction was to try to evacuate colleagues from Ukraine. But they wanted to stay. So we changed our plans and provided them with safety equipment so they could continue their work,” Gutierrez said.

“We have a programme in Kosovo. We convinced the government to offer shelter to 20 Ukrainian journalists in exile. We launched the programme in March 2022, and the first journalists arrived the following month,” he continued.

The European Federation of Journalists doesn’t have comprehensive European data on journalists in exile, partly because many don’t want to be put on a list, Gutierrez explained. Most of the Russian journalists who fled to the EU now live in Germany or the Netherlands, he added.

Journalist and researcher Hanna Liubakova left Belarus after the presidential elections in 2020, when the government intensified its crackdown on independent journalism.

Liubakova said she fled after she was put under surveillance. “For security reasons, I had to change my location every few days. Then I received a signal that it was better for me to leave the country,” she said.

She told participants that Belarusians are still interested in independent news and use social media such as TikTok as well as websites to follow what is happening in the country.

The Summer School continues on Wednesday with digital security training and a workshop about mental health and burnout.