Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Safety of Media Professionals (CMS 404)

With the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria, the face of communication education in the country has changed. The programme has transited into a full college/faculty while individual courses have adapted to the change. While several new courses now exist in the seven new departments, some of the courses you used to know before have also taken a new shape. We have done a thorough research on what these courses offer in universities across the world; and we have provided prototype syllabus for students to study ahead. This is also to assist lecturers who might be facing new challenges with several new courses to have an idea of what the syllabus of each course offers.

 

COURSE COMPACT

Faculty: Communication and Media Studies                                            Department: Journalism & Media Studies

Course Code: CMS 404                                          Unit(s): 2                      Semester: First

Course Title: Safety of Media Professionals

Lecturer:                                                       Programme: B.Sc.

 

(A). BRIEF OVERVIEW OF COURSE

This course is designed to expose students to the issues and challenges involved in safeguarding the lives of journalists whose work put them in harm’s way. It discusses various dangers faced by journalists and other media professionals both locally and internationally, including depth analysis of institutional and other remedies for ensuring a safe work environment for media workers. Students will learn about various organizations that engage in protection of journalists, Freedom of Information Act and how it applies to the journalism profession, historical and conceptual overview of Press Freedom Index, and general analysis of press free freedom and brutality in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

(B). COURSE OBJECTIVES/GOALS

By the end of this course, students will have learned:

1. Meaning of key concepts such as media professional, safety of media professional, protection of journalists, press freedom

2. Types of Dangers Faced by Media Professionals

3. Types of Dangers Faced by Media Professionals

4. Overview of press freedom in Nigeria

5. Press Freedom/Safety of Media Professionals in Various Continents

6. Meaning and relevance of UNESCO Journalists’ safety Indicators

7. Depth analysis of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)

8. Issues in Safety of Media Professionals

(C). METHOD OF LECTURE DELIVERY

  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions

(D). COURSE OUTLINE

1. Introduction

Meaning of key concepts on safety of media professionals (Media professional, safety of media professional, protection of journalists, press freedom, etc.).

2. Types of Dangers Faced by Media Professionals

The range of threats they are confronted to include murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, offline and online harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.

3. Overview of press freedom in Nigeria

Pre-independence era

Post-independence era

Military era

Present situation

4. Press Freedom/Safety of Media Professionals in Various Continents

Africa

Europe

America

The Middle East

Other Asian Countries

Classroom activities on Analysis of press freedom/brutality and safety of media professional in various continents

5. Organizations Involved in Protection of Journalists

Press Freedom Groups

Internet Freedom Communities & Groups

Professional Training Organizations

Investigative Reporting Groups

6. UNESCO Journalists’ safety Indicators

What is safety indicator?

Relevance of Safety Indicators

Historical Overview of UNESCO Journalists’ Safety Indicators

Two Sets of UNESCO Journalists’ safety indicators (National level Indicators;

International Level Indicators)

7. Press Freedom Index

Meaning of Press Freedom Index

Historical Overview of Press Freedom Index

8. Freedom of Information Act

Defining key concepts (what is freedom of information, freedom of information act, data protection)

Basic Knowledge: An overview of FOIA in Nigeria, its structure and core provisions including the definition of “recorded information”

Organisations FOIA applies to and the Codes of Practice

Exemptions of FOIA in Nigeria

Determining what is personal data and special category personal data in the context of FOI requests

FOIA in other Countries (comparative analysis)

How to make an FOI request

When request can be turned down

What to do if request is turned down

Does the FOIA Work in Nigeria?

9. Issues in Safety of Media Professionals

The issues/ challenges involved in safeguarding the lives of journalists

Institutional remedies

Other remedies

How to play safe

10. Safe behaviour for journalists during emergencies and armed conflicts

Reporting armed conflicts and crisis

Safety measures for journalists

Working with victims, suffering populations and humanitarian organizations in armed conflict zones

Working with security officials during armed conflicts/crisis situations

11. Fostering a Climate for Prevention of attacks/Safety for Media Professionals

Upholding basic legal protection for journalists (Right to life, Right to Freedom of expression)

Punishing crimes against freedom of expression

Speaking out Against attacks on journalists

Education and training of State Agencies and officials on protection of journalists

Documenting attacks on media workers and punishments against such, to prevent future occurrence

Ensuring an environment for a free media (confidentiality of sources; protection of rights of journalists)

 

(E). IMPORTANT LINKS

CPJ Journalists Security Guide

Journalists’ Safety Indicators: international level, based on the UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators

The Freedom of Information Act 2011 (FOI) – What It Means For You

An Overview of The Freedom Of Information Act (An Appraisal from a Lawyer’s Perspective)

Freedom of Information Act (2011)

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

How to make an FOI request

Bleak Outlook For Press Freedom In Nigeria

Worsening State Of Press Freedom In West Africa

Towards an effective framework of protection for the work of journalists and an end to impunity

 

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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