GIJC15: Investigating Health Issues – Ebola

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The most widespread epidemic of Ebola virus disease in global history started in West Africa in December 2013. The mortality rate among infected patient groups was as high as 70 percent in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Almost two years later more than 11.000 people has succumbed to the virus, and the epidemic has had severe consequences in countries affected.

How did the epidemic spiral out of control? What kind of challenges do reporters face when covering an unknown and deadly enemy? What kind of lessons can the coverage of an African epidemic teach us about covering the next health emergency?

US journalist Ashoka Mukpo was on assignment in Liberia as a freelance photographer for NBC when he himself contracted Ebola in October 2014. He survived thanks to fast treatment at hospitals in Liberia and the US.

“I think it’s important in life to take risks for things that you believe in. But it’s also important to keep yourself safe. So, I mean, it’s hard to call Ebola a learning experience. But I think that I’m gonna walk away from this with some important lessons for the future”, he told NBC after doctors said he no longer had Ebola in his bloodstream.

Editor Rodney D. Sieh owns and runs Liberia’s FrontPage Africa and will explain how he and his staff was covering the epidemic, and how negligence and bad decisions by the government and local authorities made the situation worse.
Rosemary Nwaebuni from Nigeria’s Pointer Newspaper focuses on her coverage of “Nigeria and Ebola: The Success Story

Moderator: Maren Sæbø (Editor/Board Member, Bundu/SKUP)
Speakers: Ashoka Mukpo (Freelance Journalist and Researcher), Rosemary Nwaebuni (Investigative Reporter, Pointer Newspaper), Rodney Sieh (Editor, FrontPage Africa)

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Recorded on October 10th, 2015, in Lillehammer, Norway.


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