This is a perilous period for religious freedom throughout the world. Most large countries officially proclaim religious freedom—but a growing body of research has found that the chasm between promise and practice is wide. In many cases, the promises of freedom are routinely denied. In this important Global Plus column, Roger Finke, director of the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), and the IARJ’s co-founder journalist David Briggs collaborated to offer a compelling, global overview of threats to religious freedom, today.
What happens when well-known speakers are brought together to fill an auditorium to discuss the compatibility of religion and science? Too often a circus in which performers with extremist views entertain an audience by affirming their prejudices, and widening a perilous gulf. What happens when you bring together respected social scientists who for many years have gathered significant data on the relationship between science and religion? A humble dialogue offering new pathways to cooperative efforts on issues from evolution and climate change to eradicating disease.
In this news-analysis, IARJ co-founder David Briggs explores the crucial issue of Islam and democracy—the global debate over whether these two traditions, one religious and one political, can co-exist peacefully and constructively in the world. In his overview, Briggs draws on expert voices raised at a panel discussion during the IARJ’s recent conference of Asian journalists in Jakarta, Indonesia. Then, he adds background (including some helpful web links), pointing toward related news events, research data and conclusions from other experts. This article includes links to video of the Jakarta panel discussion.
Peggy Fletcher Stack, religion writer for The Salt Lake Tribune and a founding member of the International Association of Religion Journalists, was part of the investigative team at the Tribune that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on rapes at Utah colleges. In this new IARJ@work column, Peggy writes about the challenges she faces—and the importance of reporting on religion in a fair and balanced way.
As he marks his third anniversary on the job, Pope Francis is providing encouragement, renewed optimism and a new energy to many of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. It is an appeal that extends beyond Catholics as the humble leader addresses issues from the refugee crisis to the environment. But can one person, even someone as charismatic as Francis, bring about lasting change?
Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.
Courageous reporters taking on powerful religious groups and drug dealers to do excellent religion journalism. The increasing mix of religion and politics in Latin America. How a Spanish entrepreneur convinced the papacy to use social media. The ways Pentecostal-Catholic competition is contributing to religious revivals in the region. International audiences, including readers of three of Latin America’s largest newspapers, received insights into the state of religion and journalism in Latin America in reporting coming out of the recent IARJ conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Enjoy the work of Sergio Rubin, Jose Maria Mayrink, Mariano de Vedia and other prominent writers by clicking here.
Recent events such as the release of a crude anti-Islamic film made by extremists was associated with violent actions by extremists in other parts of the world shows how issues relating to faith can cross borders with startling speed and emphasizes the importance of the IARJ.
Please join your colleagues in the joyous task of spreading the news about the world’s first international body of religion journalists providing editors, reporters and analysts with the tools, resources and support to promote accurate, fair and balanced reporting on religion worldwide. Press releases in Arabic, Catalan , English, French, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili and Turkish are available for media outlets and journalism associations in your nation announcing the IARJ. Celebrate this truly international body of 400 journalists from some 90 nations.
“International Coverage of Gender, Health, Education and Religion,” a six-week seminar offered by the International Center for Journalists from September 24 to November 2, will examine effective ways of reporting on gender, health, education and religion.