The Role of Journalism in Creating Stable Societies


July 27, Wednesday (11:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST)

Media and Journalism Webinars emphasize experiential and hands-on learning through intensive training and interactive discussions with professional journalists for field experience. This program aims to prepare journalism students and young professionals to succeed in their professional careers while fostering experiential learning by translating knowledge and skills into experience.


In this session, participants will be able to learn about the following topic and subjects from professional journalists and media personalities. Your active and meaningful participation with questions and reflections will make the discussion more productive.  


The Role of Journalism in creating Stable Societies

  1. Supporting vibrant civil society and fundamental rights
  2. Journalism for social good: role of media in strengthening social fabric and stability
  3. Journalists being a part of the solution or the problem: roles and responsibilities
  4. Journalists as public opinion builders and stewards of democracy and human rights
  5. Rebuilding local news while empowering the needs of society

Guest Speakers

Uday Basu

Chair, International Association of Religion Journalists, India

speakers_0000_uday-basuUday Basu is the Chair of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ). He has been in journalism for over 40 years working in different capacities in The Statesman, a leading daily of India founded by the British in the late 19th century. Mr. Basu was the paper’s Editor for several years. Uday Basu has written extensively on politics, religion, administration, education, and culture. He has many scoops under his belt, including one on the resignation of a Marxist Chief Minister of Bengal. Mr. Basu was faculty of The Statesman School of Print Journalism. Now, he writes Editorials for an English daily of eastern India, The Orissa Post. Uday Basu also wrote a book, Left Out In Bengal, that traces the rise and fall of the Marxist government in Bengal.

Dr. Rajendran Govender

Social Cohesion Advocate, Newspaper Columnist, South Africa

whatsapp-image-2022-09-12-at-2-22-05-pmDr. Rajendra Govender has been appointed by the South African government as a Social Cohesion Advocate with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and have been tasked to head a Rapid Response Task Team to address issues related to racism, xenophobia, gender-based violence and other social ills that confront society. As a qualified mediator Dr Govender has been appointed to serve on the panel of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Network South Africa. Currently Dr. Govender serves as the Executive Director of Mzansi Empowerment Enterprise, a consultancy that focuses on skills development and training, research development and diversity management. Through this platform, Dr. Govender has empowered many people especially from the disadvantaged sectors of society.

Dr Govender is a Social Anthropologist having received a Ford Foundation International Fellowship for his PhD Research as well as a postdoctoral Fellowship at the Columbia University, New York where he had to develop a leadership programme for Ten African countries. He has many other academic and professional qualifications. Dr Govender serves on numerous national and international boards and associations. He was the past Chairperson of the Ford Foundation International Alumni Association for three terms where he was responsible for developing leadership for over 450 Ford Foundation Masters and PhD graduates. He has received numerous national and international awards for his social activism
and community work.

Marika Djolai

Team Leader/ Key Expert ‘Global Exchange on Religion in Society, Germany

session-2-marika-djolaiMarika Djolai (PhD, University of Sussex) is the Key Expert on “Global Exchange on Religion in Society”, European Commission project. Previously, she was Senior Researcher and Head of Conflict and Security Cluster at the European Centre for Minority Issues (Germany). Marika holds master’s degrees from the University of Novi Sad and University College London and received her Doctorate in Development Studies (Conflict and Violence) from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She was a Visiting Researcher at the Faculty of Political Science in Sarajevo in 2012 and she was granted a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Studies of Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka. Her academic research focuses on community dynamics, post-conflict development, minority rights and securitization.

Her policy work is oriented towards the EU accession of the Western Balkans countries, bilateral disputes resolution, religion, and civil society. Marika worked in independent media in her native Serbia and media for development at the BBC Media Action. In the UK she also worked for the UK political establishment, as FCO advisor and International Alert as Head of Eurasia Programme. As a senior consultant in development sector, Marika provided advice to GIZ, SIDA, Swiss Development Cooperation, as well as UNICEF, UNDP, and the British Council. projects She was a co-founder of the “Panonija” Charity and the “House of Tolerance” NGO in Serbia in 1990s.

Summary & Highlights

On July 27, 2022, the Journalists and Writers Foundation held the 2nd Session of the Media and Journalism Webinars 2022 on “The Role of Journalism in Creating Stable Societies”. This year’s webinars welcomed 33 participants from young journalists and journalism students from 18 different countries.

JWF Media and Journalism Webinars 2022 is a free virtual certificate program that emphasizes experiential and hands-on learning through intensive workshops, webinars, mentoring and interactive discussions with professional journalists for hands-on field experience. The program aims to provide participants with ideas to research, plan, execute and write news articles/stories that will raise awareness and public opinion on various issues of local, national and global concern.

Session 2: Role of Journalism in Creating Stable Societies address the following highlights: 

  1. Supporting vibrant civil society and fundamental rights
  2. Journalism for social good: role of media in strengthening social fabric and stability 
  3. Journalists being a part of the solution or the problem: roles and responsibilities 
  4. Journalists as public opinion builders and stewards of democracy and human rights 
  5. Rebuilding local news while empowering the needs of society

Media and Journalism Webinars are hosted by Yazeed Kamaldien, journalist from South Africa who has worked in print, radio, television and documentary filmmaking. Yazeed opened the session by introducing the speakers: Uday Basu, Chair, International Association of Religion Journalists from India; Dr. Rajendran Govender, Social Cohesion Advocate and Newspaper Columnist from South Africa; and Marika Djolai, Team Leader and Key Expert of ‘Global  Exchange on Religion in Society from Germany.

Yazeed Kamaldien: What are the roles and responsibilities of journalists in creating stable societies?

session-2-marika-djolaiMarika Djolai shared her views on this important issue underlining that journalists and media professionals have a transformative role in ensuring stability and reducing instability. Unfortunate events create or motivate some journalists to take a more independent side. According to Marika, the role of journalists is shaped by access to information and freedom of expression. Marika also informed the audience about the ‘Global Change on Religion in Society’ project by discussing the importance of freedom of religion in journalism and the different levels of engagement of religious actors with society. Marika also stressed the importance of religious journalists and recognized their effective reporting as they stabilize and initiate information transfer between journalists and civil society actors.

speakers_0006_yazeed-kamaldienBefore introducing Uday Basu, President of the International Association of Religious Journalists, Yazzed Kamaldien informed the participants about the association that was established to enable journalists to report on religion. Yazeed also highlighted the fact that there is a difference between being a religious journalist who follows a particular faith (i.e. Catholic Church Media) and being a religious journalist. Religion journalists write in a way that is not concerned with propagating religion, but by asking questions about religion and providing individuals with safe platforms for dialogue to learn more about the dynamics of religions. However, as he underlines, religious journalism is still journalism; they should be accountable within the framework of the same journalism ethics and principles, but should not make propaganda. Religious journalists with ethics and principles should contribute to creating stable societies, but not fuel conflicts.



Yazeed Kamaldien: How does the International Association of Religion Journalists ensure that journalists are a part of creating stable societies?

speakers_0000_uday-basuUday Basu stated that journalism is an integral part of democracy, that is, managing according to the priorities of the people. Journalism acts as an ally of democracy by providing an unending flow of information about public life in all spheres. Journalism comes into play when an attempt is made by any individual, group, community, political body, or government to destabilize public life, societal values and norms. According to Uday, it is the duty of an honest journalist to raise public awareness, to inform people about such initiatives, and to aim to protect democracy and sustain inclusive and diverse societies.


Yazeed Kamaldien: How does journalism play an important role in creating stability in societies?

Dr. Rajendran Govender shared his expert view on how a transformed media can play an important and meaningful role in enabling citizens to have greater access to information that can promote peace and harmony and ensure freedom of expression and the press. These constitutions also protect the right of access to information. Dr. Govender underlined that a transformative media can enable individuals to make informed choices rather than being misled by unconvincing information that is often difficult to moderate on social media platforms. Many social media platforms foster fear and injustice by heightening feelings of fear and anxiety.

At the end of the event, Marika once again underlined that journalism is not just telling the truth, but telling the wrong. Reliable journalism is essential in creating peace and ultimately stability. Dr. Govender added that while building sustainable societies, religious journalists should carefully evaluate their target audiences, taking into account social groups with different cultures and religions. Finally, Yazeed underlined the need for increasingly balanced reporting; analysing the same content from different perspectives is essential for media diversity and journalism to promote peace and stability.


Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS) is a two-year project of networking, societal capacity building and social media engagement. The project aims to contribute to social inclusion and societal resilience by setting up a global community-based exchange initiative. Through this action, the European Union is setting up a network of civil society actors, whether secular or faith based, to connect their experiences of coexistence among people of different faiths, and none, in societies across the globe.  Through the creation of GERIS Network, the EU also wants to explore a specific model for engaging these actors working on a range of societal issues. The project objective will be achieved by building an exchange platform to contribute to the global conversation on diversity, coexistence, and social inclusion in society, on civic engagement and a more active, participatory, and shared sense of citizenship across boundaries of belief and worldviews.   



The Statesman – One of India`s most prominent media outlets 

The Statesman is an Indian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper founded in 1875 and published simultaneously in Kolkata, New Delhi, Siliguri and Bhubaneswar. It incorporates and is directly descended from The Friend of India, founded in 1818.



Department of Sport, Art and Culture of South Africa – Social Cohesion Advocates 


The Ethical Journalism Network

The Ethical Journalism Network aims to strengthen the craft of journalism and to promote for the public benefit high ethical standards in media through education, training and publication of useful research.


BBC Editorial Guidelines  


The International Association of Religion Journalists 

The International Association of Religion Journalists is a global network of journalists promoting excellence in the coverage of religion and spirituality. The IARJ works to build a respected professional body that can transcend national and regional biases. We offer a compelling perspective and are a trusted source of support and an indispensable resource for journalists worldwide reporting on religion.


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