International Journalism Week 2021.1

Students in a lecture at International Journalism Week

Event details

22-26 March 2021


International Journalism Week (IJW) 2021, organised by the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Sheffield, took place from 22 to 26 March 2021. The event, which was rescheduled after being postponed in 2020, was the first of two International Journalism Weeks to take place this year. The theme was Media Freedom and Social Justice.

Baroness Helena Kennedy's talk for International Journalism Week 2021

This very important theme brings together two major concerns of journalism today. One is the safety of journalists as they play the crucial role of sustaining democracy by holding power to account. Media freedom continues to be strangled by powerful people who censor free speech in many ways – including prison sentences and death. UNESCO records show that 57 journalists were killed for their work in 2020.

The 'social justice' aspect of the theme relates to equality and diversity in journalism practice. The Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 – which resulted from the outrage that followed the killing of George Floyd and other Black people by police officers in the US – reignited calls for equality and diversity in various institutions including journalism. There are queries about how the media cover race protests, racist stereotypes in the news, and lack of equality and diversity among journalists. 

These concerns are catered for by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects race equality and freedom of speech. But with the recent 'Save America Rally' which led to the storming of the Capitol Building, and the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account, there are also debates about the interpretations of free speech. Are the powers given to internet intermediaries a danger to free speech? IJW 2021 touched upon all these issues through lectures, workshops, panel discussions, quiz, short video competitions, and debates.

Guest speakers 


There were three competitions that took place during this event.

Debate Competition

The topic was free speech and the power of internet intermediaries (eg SNS).

Short video competition

Students were asked to produce a creative, didactic, and captivating short video (maximum 5 minutes) campaigning for social justice. Students could focus on the following subjects: microaggressions, intersectionality, multiculturalism, tokenism, and Black Lives Matter, as well as other related subjects.

Quiz competition

All attendees were invited to participate in this quiz. The questions were drawn from papers delivered during the first four days of the conference, and any other questions selected by the co-ordinator of the quiz session.

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