The ‘Oslo Professional Course’, a one-week training course for 5-7 participants from Angola hosted in Norway, is a key component of the Angola Human Rights Project. As part of this, The Governance Group in partnership with the Angolan Ministry of Justice and Human Rights offer an annual Media Training Diploma Course for Angolan professionals. The course provides first-hand introductions to key issues and challenges in the Norwegian media and communication sector as well as includes issues of relevance to the current Angolan and southern African context. The course focuses on freedom of expression and access to information, and the relationship between a changing media landscape and human rights.
The course focuses on how a free and independent media can play an important role in the protection of human rights, for example by providing an effective guarantee on government accountability and acting as a key check on corruption. In many societies, media can also be co-opted and have the opposite effect, fuelling instead prejudice and division. International law requires States to both refrain from controlling or restricting the media, as well as allowing a free and diverse media landscape by enabling the legal and regulatory environment. However, the media landscape both globally, regionally, and nationally has changed fundamentally in recent years. The Internet, and social media especially, has taken a new position of importance as a platform for content distribution alongside traditional forms of media. The rise of the internet and social media has occurred rapidly, and they now hold a key influence over the visibility and accessibility of media and related content. Alongside the rise in internet and social media, there has been an increase in surveillance and monitoring of communications by States. Whilst this rapid change in the media landscape calls for more detailed regulation, there is a need for clear rules and restrictions, in order, to ensure freedom of expression on the internet.
This year, the Media Diploma Course took place in Oslo from the 7th to 11th October. Topics covered current challenges relating to freedom of expression globally as well as freedom of expression and the media in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Lectures also covered investigative journalism, defamation, and the role of online media, news and cyber security. This year’s Media Diploma Course therefore aimed to enable professionals working in the media sector in Angola to have a better understanding of the role and impact of media and communication and its relationship to human rights amid the changing technological and regulatory landscape. The course was designed to broaden the participant’s perspectives and enhance their opportunities to integrate both key principles and practical approaches into their daily work.
During the week-long course, participants had both lecturers as well as visits to relevant institutions in Norway working in the media and communication sector. Institutions visited included the Norwegian Union of Journalists, Norwegian PEN, and Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen, as well as a visit to the Norwegian Parliament.
Press freedom and freedom of expression is increasingly coming under pressure and is of utmost importance in the current global context and The Governance Group looks forward to further collaboration on freedom of expression, media freedom and human rights with the graduates of the 2019 Media Diploma Course.