Document:Draft agenda for the conference Tackling Tools of Malign Influence
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Tackling Tools of Malign Influence – Supporting 21st Century Journalism, Frontline Club, November 1-2, 2018
Independent, public interest journalism and the journalists who deliver it are under siege. The challenges are manifold: from fake news and misinformation campaigns to state-sponsored harassment and intimidation and violence; from commercial pressures and lack of resources to a relentless social and digital media environment. Across Europe and the Mediterranean, the threat to independent journalism is spreading, with mass detentions in Turkey, a murder in Malta and revelations on how fake news targeted voters in the UK’s Brexit referendum all underlining the need for vigilance. So how can journalists hold power to account in the face of these challenges? How can honest, fair and independent journalism be nurtured and sustained? Over the course of two days at the Frontline Club, the conference will take a detailed look at the various threats to public interest journalism and what can be done to resist them. It will bring together experienced journalists from the region who have survived kidnapping, death threats, harassment or arrest, with young journalists from countries where reporting freedoms are under threat. They will be joined by renowned foreign correspondents and investigative journalists from the UK for a frank and intimate discussion about their experiences and the coping methods necessary to survive and continue doing their jobs. Our aim is that these conversations will guide future practical support services to furnish journalists working in difficult environments with the means to develop and sustain their ability to report on public interest issues without fear or favour
Draft agenda for the conference. November 1, 2018
14.20-15.30 Discussion + Q&A: The Fake News Challenge to Independent Journalism Misinformation has been deployed as an instrument of conflict in Ukraine, to undermine elections and referendums in the United States and United Kingdom, and more widely as a tool to erode trust in established professional media organisations. How has the Russian state used fake news as an aggressor state; what are its methods, are they changing, what are its goals?
Ukrainian speaker from StopFake or Detektor on how Russian misinformation was weaponised as an instrument of war in the country’s civil conflict Natalia Antaleva, former BBC correspondent and founder of CodaStory. Based in Tblisi, she is expert in fake news and state repression of independent media across Ukraine and the CIS countries.
Carole Cadwalladr, Observer journalist who has broken several exclusive stories on how Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to steal private data and the Vote Leave campaign to disseminate misinformation to skew the Brexit referendum
Breakout sessions: Dealing with the Fake News Challenge Ben Nimmo, Atlantic Council and Institute of Statecraft analyst on disinformation, on How to Spot a Bot – identifying fake accounts and the misinformation they spread.
Natalia Antaleva: Independent Journalism is the Antidote to Misinformation – but you need to stay with the story StopFake on how Ukraine has worked to check misinformation, successes and failures.
17.05-18.15 Discussion + Q&A: Harassment, Intimidation and Murder: The War on Truth
How political and security establishments use legal and extra-judicial means to suppress information and bully journalists to toe the line.
Laurent Richard of Forbidden Stories, or Relative/Colleague of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese journalist killed last year over her investigations into money laundering and corruption in the country
Tunca Ogreten, Turkish journalist who was locked up for 11 months for reports on Erdogan’s son-in-law and minister Berat Albayrak, or Murat Sabuncu, Cumhurriyet editor, jailed for a year for ‘terror’ related charges of reporting on activities of PKK and Gulen.
Frederica Jansz – former editor of Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader. Dismissed in 2012 by a new, government-friendly owner, and forced to flee the country under US protection amid death threats. She will join by video-link from her home in Seattle.
Moderator: Damien McElroy, Foreign Desk director, war correspondent
18.30-19.15 Networking drinks and journalist briefing
November 2, 2018
9-10.10 (UK journalism students join) Discussion + Q&A: Compromising the Owner/Editor – Influence in the Media
Luba Rizova, former news director of BTV in Bulgaria, the country’s most successful private channel, explains how constant political pressure and threats from politicians and oligarchs is causing journalists to quit or practice self-censorship.
Dimitris Xenakis, managing editor of Inside Story, one of two independent investigative websites in Greece, explains how Greek journalists have lost their ability to pursue a story amid political and financial pressure.
10.20-11.40 Breakout session: Digital Safety – Protecting your data or story from prying eyes
Ingrid Brodnig, Austrian journalist turned expert on digital harassment and algorithms. + Breakout session: How to beat the trap and face down the system when pressure mounts Taha Siddiqui – renowned Pakistani journalist who escaped from an attempted kidnapping earlier this year and now lives in exile in Paris. Stop Fake on how they have fought back against misinformation and censorship in Ukraine
11.50-13.00 Investigative masterclass
How to build an investigation, develop trust with sources, obtain documentary support, maintain balance in your reporting, keep the momentum going over an extended period.
Moderator: Dean Nelson
13.00-13.45 Closing remarks: resistance and resilience
Amid the unprecedented challenges of misinformation and rising violence and intimidation, let’s remind ourselves why journalists keep going, and they need to keep going.