RNS EVENT: Journalism Between Red Lines: Religion Reporting in a World of Conflict

large2Journalism Between Red Lines: Covering Religion and Religious Freedom in a World of Conflict

Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Religion News Service and the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute invite you to a timely and provocative discussion of the red lines journalists face covering religion around the world. What are the legal constraints on religion reporting — and when are they justified? What role does self-censorship play in covering volatile issues involving religion and religious freedom? What role does media coverage (or lack of coverage) play in fueling religious conflict and division?


  • Charles Haynes, director, Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute
  • Brian Pellot, director of global strategy and religious freedom editor, Religion News Service


  • Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for East Asia, Freedom House
  • Geraldine Fagan, journalist and author of “Believing in Russia — Religious Policy after Communism”
  • Johannes Langkilde, U.S. correspondent, Danish Broadcasting Corporation
  • Ebtihal Mubarak, Saudi journalist covering women and youth rights
  • Pir Zubair Shah, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

The discussion will be moderated by Katrina Lantos Swett, Ph.D, vice chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

A reception will follow the discussion (co-sponsored by the Center on Religion & the Professions, University of Missouri).

This program is free to attend, but registration is required. Please click here to RSVP. Follow the event on Twitter: #RNSredlines @RNS @Newseum

We look forward to seeing you at the Newseum April 9.


Katrina Head Shot New 4-3-12Katrina Lantos Swett, Ph.D, currently serves as Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In April of 2012, she was appointed to USCIRF by Senator Harry Reid and was elected to serve as Chair in June of 2012 until June of 2013 when she was elected Vice Chair. Dr. Lantos Swett is the President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice – a human rights organization which she established in 2008 to carry on the work of her father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos. In addition she has taught Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy at Tufts University, a subject she also taught at the University of Southern Denmark during her husband’s tenure as US Ambassador to Denmark. Katria currently serves on the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Advisory Board of UN Watch, the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute, the Hungarian Initiatives Foundation, and the Advisory Board of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy.

Sarah CookSarah Cook is a senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House. She manages the editorial team producing the China Media Bulletin. Cook is the author of several articles and numerous country reports examining media freedom and democratic governance in China and elsewhere. Her comments and writings have appeared on CNN, the International Herald Tribune, the Taipei Times, the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief, and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. She recently authored a special report published by the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance on how the Communist Party’s media restrictions affect news outlets outside China. Before joining Freedom House, she was twice a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva for an NGO working on religious freedom in China. She received a BA in International Relations from Pomona College and as a Marshall Scholar, completed master’s degrees in politics and international law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

FaganGeraldine Fagan is a British journalist and author. She recently moved to Washington, D.C., from Moscow, where she monitored religious freedom across Russia for 12 years. Her book “Believing in Russia – Religious Policy after Communism,” (2012) focuses on religion’s role in Russia under Vladimir Putin.


johannes-langkildeJohannes Langkilde is an award-winning journalist, news anchor and correspondent. In June 2013 Johannes joined Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) after seven years as anchor of TV 2 DENMARK’s flagship evening news program News at 19.00. He has also hosted major election debates and covered royal events. Johannes is now based in Washington, D.C., as DR’s Chief US correspondent where he covers US politics and general affairs.

EbtihalMubarakphotoEbtihal Mubarak is a Brooklyn-based Saudi journalist who writes about the growing movement for greater political and social rights for Saudi women and youth. Mubarak has been instrumental in publicizing many human rights cases, most notably the Saudi rape victim known as the “Qatif Girl,” who eventually received a royal pardon. She is a recipient of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld fellowship for international journalists. CNN has described her as “Saudi Arabia’s fearless journalist.”

Zubair ShahPir Zubair Shah served as the 2012-2013 Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a fellow at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation in 2011 and 2012. Since 2008, Shah has worked for the New York Times. He shared the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his work as a reporter in the Waziristan tribal area of Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan. Shah has covered and exposed major international news stories on politics, terrorism and security in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with special attention to the activities of the military and the Taliban in the border regions. He has also worked for Washington Times and has written feature story for Foreign Policy. Shah is a frequent commentator on radio and TV. Past appearances include Charlie Rose on PBS; Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC; NPR’s Morning Edition; Al Jazeera; CNN; and others.