Introduction

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2020 – a year like no other. A year where a global pandemic put life on hold for everyone and left journalists and media organisations facing unforeseen challenges. During this year Fojo Media Institute strengthened our partnerships and sharpened our programmes, in Sweden and globally.

In this annual overview, we present some of the people, projects and political circumstances that have defined and framed this work.

 

For almost 50 years, Fojo has offered training for Swedish journalists in Kalmar. Now during the covid pandemic, we established Fojo Academy – an e-learning platform that will host video-based trainings, digital classrooms, workshops, quizzes and much more.

The need for gender equality and social inclusion in news reporting is ever-present.  Fojo strives to break the glass ceiling by participating and strengthening national and global projects in Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Improving media’s ability to fact check is another field where Fojo has taken an active role. Through Faktajouren in Sweden and partners in sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh, Fojos strives to assist our partners to debunk disinformation and promote evidence-based quality journalism.

Supporting investigative journalism is another area that we have continued to develop during 2020, not least by strengthening our fruitful cooperation with Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN).

Fojo’s mission is to strengthen free, independent and professional journalism and this has been at the core of all our activities during our almost fifty years of operations. However, the year 2020 has constituted a backlash for independent journalism in many countries. In Belarus, where Fojo has supported independent media during more than 20 years, we have been forced to see our fellow journalists being harassed and jailed. Website blocks, fines, detentions, beatings, gunshots, and tortures became the new normal for the independent media reporters in the country.

Supporting minorities to be heard and seen has also been a priority of Fojo during 2020. In January 2020 a unique verdict was pronounced in the Swedish Supreme Court where a Sami community’s hunting rights were restored – after a trial that lasted more than ten years. As a response, Fojo organised a training where journalists got the opportunity to spend time in Kiruna and its Arctic surroundings, meeting Sami and other members of the community of Kiruna, along with legal experts and researchers.

Finally, the Sustainable Development Goals has been in focus during 2020. We have had intense discussions on how journalism can be made financially sustainable and also contribute to the sustainability of the society. Among other things, we produced a short film about the SDGs, funded by Sida. This film aims to illustrate the wider importance journalism has in promoting SDG 16, peace, justice and strong institutions and brings some examples of real-world results journalism has led to.