Why this manual

Should there be limits on freedom of expression?
Can words and pictures lead to conflicts?
Do journalists confirm stereotypes and prejudices?
How can journalists use international human rights in their work?


Challenges in the contemporary world - how to report?


The complexity of and challenges in the contemporary world raise difficult dilemmas for journalists. How to report? How to cover the influx of refugees and asylum seekers, immigration issues and right-wing rhetoric? What about radicalisation and extremism, gender issues, homophobia and blasphemy? What language should be used? What is the right angle? When is it appropriate to provoke? When is it not?

These questions and many others are the topics of this manual. This is an educational tool for teachers of journalism, media and communication who want to raise the students’ competence on issues related to diversity, intercultural understanding, human rights and ethics. The manual will also be useful for practising journalists, editors, other media workers and students.

Participatory teaching methods are an essential part of the manual and are included in all 11 sessions. Such methods represent active, exploratory, exciting and inspiring forms of learning. In addition to lectures and in-depth articles, the sessions include descriptions of group work, exercises, energizers, assignments and links to external resources and films.

This manual is the result of a long-term partnership between the departments of journalism education at universities in Norway, Russia and Sweden, as well as the Human Rights Academy, a Norwegian non-governmental organization. In the context of the projects’ many activities, the partners have developed new educational resources and tools. We hope that stakeholders in Scandinavia, Russia and elsewhere in the world will benefit from the manual’s training resources while educating future journalists.


The Power of the Media – The Responsibility of Journalists


Journalists and media workers reach and influence people widely every day. They communicate through radio, television, newspapers, magazines and the internet. More than others, this profession can be said to “describe and interpret society for itself”. At their best, journalists and media workers contribute to peaceful coexistence, democracy and increased respect for human rights. In this perspective, they form an integral and positive force which develops our societies into well-functioning democracies. It is often said that the media is the fourth estate. On the other hand, at their worst, journalists and media workers can reinforce negative sentiments in the population and promote unrest. Words and pictures are indeed powerful weapons.

To enhance the positive building effects of journalism and prevent its potentially negative consequences, journalism education should prepare the students for reporting on difficult societal challenges. They should learn about our modern societies, diversity, culture and identity, including the social-psychological mechanisms that too often result in a perception of “us” and “them”. They should obtain knowledge about international human rights as guidelines, as well as about specific resources they can use in their work. The education programme should also encourage the students to reflect on the power of the media, ethical standards of the press and their own role in this regard. If the journalists of tomorrow are furnished with this kind of knowledge and reflection, we are convinced that they will have a more solid foundation for their work. The result will be better journalism that will benefit our societies.

An online manual on intercultural understanding, ethics and human rights to be used by teachers and students in journalism education. Read more.

Email : post@journalism-edu.org

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