This summer, journalists from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Warsaw, Poland, for a conference exploring coverage of faith issues in public life, politics and history in the region, organized by the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) along with a number of sponsors. This column shares comments on these issues from many of the participants.
In our second profile of our IARJ Regional Representatives, Rachel Kohn (our representative for Australasia) reports on some of the milestones in her own career of covering religion around the world—starting with the challenge of covering the Centennial of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993. We also share links to follow Rachel’s work, especially her long-running series of broadcasts, The Spirit of Things.
IARJ’s Co-Managing Director Larbi Megari—who was also named the IARJ’s representative for North Africa and Middle East in 2018—reports in the Global Plus series about building friendships across religious lines. He especially explores issues of building social trust and civility between Muslims and non-Muslims. And, at the end of his column, Larbi adds a list of links to additional resources that will be valuable for journalists reporting on these issues.
IARJ Co-managing Director Larbi Megari reports on the Africa-wide conference for journalists and scholars recently held in Ghana, including some of the emerging challenges: How to connect more effectively with scholars studying religious trends; how to deal with forces that seem to work against accurate coverage of religious diversity; and the challenge of finding more effective professional networks with colleagues.
International Association of Religion Journalists founding member Prince Charles Dickson shares the wide range of topics discussed at the IARJ conference in Ghana, highlighting the great complexity of covering religion in Africa. From trying to cover religious extremism to trying to balance government involvement in religion, or lack of government interest in religion, the professional challenges are enormous, Dickson argues.
IARJ Co-managing Director and Web Editor Elisa Di Benedetto shares her perspective on this year’s conference in Ghana, including a key insight: While everyone who attended was aware of Africa’s religious diversity, the conference also illustrated a diversity in approaches to journalism by reporters across the continent.