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The University of Liverpool is one of the top UK universities, member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 leading UK universities.

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The Worlds of Journalism Study is a cross-national collaborative project assessing the state of journalism in the world through representative surveys with journalists.

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UNESCO is the lead UN Agency for promoting freedom of expression and safety of journalists as part of its mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.

Miral Sabry AlAshry

Professor at Teaching at the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) at The American University in Cairo; • Co-lead for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the Centre for Freedom of the Media, Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield; • Reporter covering the conflict in Libya for the Eurasia Review website.

Arab Authorities online news monitoring surveillance press freedom open source

Arab journalists have no place: Authorities use digital surveillance to control investigative reporting Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of digital surveillance by Arab authorities, who face risks and threats of surveillance, and how journalists seeking press freedom use tools and techniques to communicate securely, such as open source in journalism. These journalists share and rely heavily on an opensource data ideology. With novel methods and tools, they integrate a new set of actors, competencies, and technologies into journalistic practice, renegotiating and transcending professional boundaries. The methodology of the study was based on in-depth interviews from Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, and Tunisia with a selection of journalists exclusively publishing investigative stories at Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) about corruption during COVID-19 and how journalists are controlled by authorities. In these interviews, journalists reflected on their professionalism amidst the pandemic and rising authoritarian control of journalistic work. The results of the study indicated that journalists in these countries faced many challenges, such as the difficulty of verifying data because authoritarian regimes published incomplete and inaccurate COVID-19 data and used digital surveillance to control news content.

Definition of journalists' safety

Journalists' safety in the Middle East can be defined as the protection of media professionals from physical harm, threats, intimidation, and harassment while carrying out their journalistic duties in the region. This encompasses safeguarding journalists from targeted attacks, violence, imprisonment, and censorship, as well as ensuring their psychological well-being in often hostile and dangerous environments. Additionally, journalists' safety involves creating conditions that allow them to report freely, without fear of reprisal or persecution, thereby upholding press freedom and the public's right to access information.

Future plans for research on journalists' safety

In the future, research on journalists' safety will focus on developing comprehensive risk assessment frameworks tailored to the specific challenges faced by journalists in the Middle East. This will involve examining the intersection of political, social, and cultural factors that contribute to threats against journalists, as well as exploring the impact of emerging technologies and digital platforms on their safety. Additionally, future research will seek to identify best practices for training journalists in safety protocols and conflict reporting, with an emphasis on psychological resilience and trauma support. Furthermore, there will be an emphasis on engaging with local media organizations, civil society, and international stakeholders to develop collaborative initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and protection of journalists operating in the region. Overall, the future research agenda will strive to provide actionable insights and practical recommendations to mitigate risks and promote a safer environment for journalists in the Middle East.
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Miral Sabry AlAshry

Miral Sabry AlAshry