HRNJ Empowers Online Journalists With Cyber Security Training To Safeguard Digital Integrity

HRNJ Empowers Online Journalists With Cyber Security Training To Safeguard Digital Integrity

By Spy Uganda

In today’s digital age, journalists play a crucial role in disseminating information and shaping public opinions. However, with the rise of cyber threats, journalists face unique challenges in safeguarding their work, sources, and personal data from malicious actors.

For the above reasons among others, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRN) team led by their executive Director Robert Ssempala, on 21, March, 2024 organized a cybersecurity training session for various online journalists to help them safely navigate online spaces as they carry out their duties.

The day-long training that took place at Eureka Palace Hotel in Ntinda, was attended by several online journalists including ,Bob Atwine (Command post), Ronald Kalangi (Capital Times Uganda), Kamuntu Frank (Swift news Uganda),and our very own Chief Spy, Andrew Irumba. Irumba, who also doubles as President for Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (Indoja-U), an Association that brings together online media houses and journalists highlighted the significant role HRNJ has played in defending the Rights of journalists, and now is again playing another crucial role in ensuring they do their job in a safer environment online.

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Others members in attendance Included; Remy Asiteza (Daily Express Uganda), Gad Masereka (New Light Paper), Hannington Mbabazi (Standard News Ug), Nkwanga Michael (Detective Ug), Akello Peace (TheSpy Television) among others.

During the training, Mr Sempala emphasized HRNJ’s commitment to empowering journalists to navigate the digital world confidently and securely and upholding the integrity of journalism in the digital age. Ssempala revealed that the training was organized to equip online journalists with essential knowledge and skills to navigate the digital landscape safely and securely adding that understanding cyber security fundamentals is paramount to protect journalists, their sources, and the integrity of their work.

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The training, conducted by Jackson Opi, an online computing practitioner, explored various cyber threats targeting journalists, including phishing attacks, malware infections, social engineering tactics and data breaches.

The journalists were taken through practical strategies to identify and mitigate these threats, as well as best practices for securing their devices, communications, and online accounts.

In-depth discussions covered different types of hacking tools, including phishing, malware, and browser hijacking, the importance of scrutinizing links and attachments, ensuring messages are sent at optimal times to mitigate risks, and implementing essential cybersecurity practices such as software updates, antivirus installations, and browser hardening.

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Addressing privacy and security of online journalists, the team was educated about data protection in the presentation, including updating windows, strong passwords, use of password managers.

Additionally, Opi highlighted the importance of maintaining digital hygiene, implementing encryption tools, and adhering to secure communication practices when interacting with sources and colleagues.

The journalists were also urged to use VPNs, protect the sources and the data, given the various threats towards freedom for speech, for example, the Computer Misuse Act, practicing device hygiene as a must.

The golden nugget of the day was for journalists to calculate the risks before taking on tasks, personal risks at hand, the digital risks, and lastly the checking procedures and emergency risks, re-echoing that physical compromise on a journalist qualifies high chances of cyber security threats.

By the end of training, the team confirmed that they had gained the knowledge, online tools necessary to enhance their cyber security posture and minimize the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks.

More About Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) was established in 2005 by a group of journalists who had developed a sense of activism, and it was formally registered as an independent, non-profit and non-partisan media organization in 2006. The identity of HRNJ-Uganda lies with its diverse membership of journalists from both print and electronic media as well as freelance investigative journalists and students.

HRNJ endeavors to provide medical and psycho-social support to media practitioners injured in the course of their duty. Through training and educating journalists on various thematic issues, HRNJ enhances journalists’ competence and capacities on human rights and good governance.

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