Experts discuss how data can boost media freedom

by Jane Whyatt

Many violations of media freedom and other journalists’ rights go unreported across Europe. Journalists don’t like to write about their own problems, and in most cases are justified to be afraid of speaking out. But we can also "listen" to the data available.

Connect 900X600 Mining, studying and sharing data is an important aspect of getting connected with the thick of media freedom violations in a scenario where journalists are afraid of speaking out. (Public domain photo)

To tackle this issue, data journalism experts are holding a workshop at the Perugia International Journalism Festival.

It is part of the ECPMF project and involves its partner organisation Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT).

Chiara Sighele from OBCT explains:

“Apart from individual cases, it is very difficult to bring media freedom issues to the news agenda. In search of possible answers, the idea of the panel  'Data Journalism for Media Freedom - Visualising media ownership in Europe' was born. The aim is to start posing the question and see what happens. (...)To enable the richest possible discussion, the panel brings together people with different expertise."

OBCT’s Marzia Bona hopes that the workshop will help to build up the ECPMF Media Freedom Resource Centre, where datasets and other resources are collected in order to promote and reinforce media freedom. She says:

There are multiple indications of mounting pressure on public interest and investigative journalism. Are there relevant data available, and what is missing?"

Ides Debruyne from, another ECPMF partner, joins the workshop to share his many years of experience in funding independent and investigative journalism. He is keen to collect and publish data about who owns the media, since there is often a lack of transparency.

"Knowing about media ownership and working for media diversity is crucial, and so is fact-checked information about who delivers your journalism," says Debruyne.

Other experts in the workshop include Elda Brogi of the Florence-based Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) and Lelio Simi, co-founder of the DataMediaHub.

The workshop takes place on Saturday, 8 April, within the framework of the International Journalism Festival in Italy. It will be streamed live on the festival panel's website.


Read details of the international festival here.

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