"We have learned to correctly assess the dangers."
"I had already attended several short courses on digital security before I took part in this programme. But once we began to penetrate deeper into this area I realised that it’s counterproductive to do short training courses because they often provide inaccurate or false information on the subject of digital security – and “erasing” it is more difficult than starting from scratch in this area.
Since taking part in the Berlin Scholarship Programme I have realised that digital security is not just about secure passwords and PGP or protecting data and sources. Now I know that for me it’s more important to understand what tools to use in which situations than to know about all kind of different security tools – also because there is no such thing as “secure” tools in the real sense of the word. What you need is a well-constructed security plan. The scholarship programme taught me not to have fixed opinions about tools and digital resources, but to correctly assess the risks and use my knowledge accordingly. During the scholarship programme we visited several publishers and media companies, and I learned a lot from that. These visits were helpful not just for learning about working conditions but also for meeting people who could be useful contacts in the future.
As regards my colleagues on the programme, I can only describe how difficult it was to say goodbye. We organised several “last evening meals“ because we couldn’t bring ourselves to say goodbye. The last “last meal” was on the evening before our departure. The scholarship programme brought us closer together than I had expected. We learned a lot about each other and our respective home countries, and exchanged many experiences. Journalistic work faces serious obstacles almost everywhere, even if these obstacles are very different in nature. An awareness of the working conditions, challenges and difficulties the others face forged a strong bond between us. During the programme we got to know each other at a professional level, with the result that some of us will work together on important topics in our own countries even after the programme has ended. Through the interaction with colleagues from different countries, this scholarship programme provides wonderful ideas for international reporting. For me, this is one of the most important achievements of the residency. In this way the scholarship programme will stay with us even beyond the four months of its duration.”
Marine Madatyan is an investigative journalist from Armenia. She came to Berlin for four months to train in digital security on RSF Germany’s Berlin Scholarship Programme. Madatyan studied journalism at the Yerevan State University in Armenia until 2012 and then completed a Master’s degree in “Communication, Media and Society”. To gain practical experience while she was studying she completed several internships with local media companies and worked on a voluntary basis at the United Nations Information Centre in Yerevan. She has also taken part in a number of journalistic training and scholarship programmes run by international media organisations.
Madatyan’s work as a journalist is her greatest passion. It gives her the feeling that she is making an important contribution to the world. This is why she has worked for seven years as a reporter for Hetq, an online newspaper published by the Investigative Journalists NGO. The main focus of her work here is reports on corruption in various areas of public life – in particular the education sector.
In her free time Madatyan loves playing the guitar, listening to music and travelling. She is currently thinking about combining her two main interests – journalism and music. (Current as of: 08.08.2019)