Stories written by Farhana Haque Rahman
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Press Freedom and Climate Journalism: United in Crisis

Journalism is in crisis, again. The challenges to press freedom are enormous and multi-faceted and they are deepening -- in “free” and open societies as well as autocracies. And there are no simple solutions. For individuals and entire media outlets the crisis is existential.

Amidst a Horrendous 2023, Civil Society is Fighting Back Society

The year 2023 has brought so much tragedy, with incomprehensible loss of lives, whether from wars or devastating ‘natural’ disasters, while our planet has seen yet more records broken as our climate catastrophe worsens. And so as the clock ticks towards the (mostly western) New Year, readers are traditionally subjected by media outlets like ours to the 'yearender'—usually a roundup of main events over the previous 12 months, one horror often overshadowed by the next.

Dear World Leaders, Are You Listening Now?

Another year and another UN climate change conference. As our ‘world leaders’ prepare for two air-conditioned weeks of wrangling at COP28 in Dubai later this month, forgive us for sounding underwhelmed, despairing, and even cynical about these annual jamborees where actions rarely match promises.

Media Freedom is Vital but have we Passed Peak Press?

Peak oil was first up, followed by peak gas, gold and others, as if the world was draining natural resources like toilet roll panic buying in a lockdown supermarket. But should we now be worried about Peak Press?

War, Famine, Disease, Disasters – 2022 – a Year Staring at Apocalypse

A year that started with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is ending with famine in Africa, while still spreading death and misery through an enduring pandemic and a deteriorating climate crisis -- 2022 has been an apocalyptic warning of the frailty of our planet and the woeful shortcomings of humankind.

World Press Freedom Faces a Perfect Storm

Empowered by a global pandemic and the drum beats of war, the strongest despots are growing more despotic, and criminal cartels even more brazen in their violence. Extremists of various hues are also stepping out of the shadows. Just when the world most needs press freedom to thrive, the liberties that societies only really treasure when they are emasculated are coming under more pressure from different directions, old and new.

Addressing Global Food Security with Optimism and Resilience

In an exclusive interview with IPS, Ambassador Cindy Hensley McCain, Permanent Representative of the US Mission to the food and agriculture organizations of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, shares her thoughts on food security, sustainable food systems, the impact of climate change on food production, conflicts and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, and her plans while working with the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) with Farhana Haque Rahman and Sania Farooqui.

International Women’s Day, 2022
War, Autocrats and Fossil Fuels – Women on the Front Line

For decades women’s demands for political and economic inclusion have placed them centre-stage in mass struggles against dictatorships across the world. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its indiscriminate attacks on civilians now put women’s movements firmly on the front line of war, autocrats and fossil fuels.

2021: A Grim Year for Planet Earth

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the deadly manifestations of the climate crisis, there were few places to hide for most of us in 2021. Ageing billionaires riding booming stock markets could take their first flights into space in their own rockets, but for the rest of Planet Earth’s 8 billion people with their feet on the ground it was a year of placing hope in the hands of scientists and our political leaders to turn the tide.

Closed Borders and Hostile Receptions Await Afghan Refugees

Whether desperately trying to get a place on the last evacuation flights out of Kabul or trekking to the borders with neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, tens of thousands of Afghans are fleeing their country once more. Events are unfolding at speed. The Taliban are establishing a central government in the capital to fill the void of the collapsed western-backed administration, but they do not control all the country as the protracted civil war enters a new stage. The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that in its “worst case scenario” it is preparing for around 500,000 new refugees in the region by the end of this year. As with many past estimates that could prove optimistic.

2020: A Yet More Devastating Year Closes With At Least Some Signs Of Hope

Despite its grim record of multiple natural disasters and a deepening climate crisis, one could be forgiven for looking back on 2019 with a degree of nostalgia. There is no disguising the extent of the calamity wrought this year by COVID-19, yet as we approach the end of 2020 we may also draw strength from positive developments emerging.

Press Freedom Needs Protection from Pandemic too

Wearing an orange jacket and face mask, Li Zehua, a Chinese freelance journalist, can be seen filming himself in a car. He is sure that state security agents have been pursuing him since he began documenting events in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, the first epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. A second YouTube video, circulating widely since he launched his appeal, ends abruptly when two men knock at his apartment. He has just reappeared online after two months, saying police interrogated him and put him in quarantine and that he was well looked after during this period.

Saluting IPS Journalists and Supporters during Covid19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic shifts around the world, now stretching even the developed health services of richer nations to breaking point, here at IPS our dedicated journalists in developing countries are standing strong in giving a voice to the Global South.

Many Milestones but Painfully Slow Progress Towards Gender Equality

The narrative surrounding women’s rights in 2020 carries much hope and possibility. A new decade is ushering in important anniversaries and milestones: 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, 110 years since the birth of International Women's Day and the 10-year countdown to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

2020: a Year Full of Danger

Let’s face what lies ahead with open eyes: 2020 is going to be a very tough year for the world, and developing countries in particular. The infant decade has already begun with the harbingers of climate disaster as thousands fled to beaches in Australia from raging bush fires, and the Middle East braced for more conflict after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad killed Iran’s top general.

2019 – A Devastating Year in Review

By any measure this has been a devastating year: fires across the Amazon, the Arctic and beyond; floods and drought in Africa; rising temperatures, carbon emissions and sea levels; accelerating loss of species, and mass forced migrations of people.

Under Pressure. Can COP25 Deliver?

Mass public pressure backed by the weight of scientific reports is starting to bring governments to their senses as the annual UN climate summit kicks off in Madrid today.

Statistics and Stories – Time to Change the Refugee Narrative?

Statistics and stories. When aid agencies appeal for funding to tackle the latest refugee crisis and journalists do their reporting, then these are the two narratives most chosen -- one impersonal and the other upfront and individual. The sheer numbers can feel overwhelming. The UN refugee agency UNHCR says more than 70 million people are currently displaced by conflict, the most since the Second World War. Among them are nearly 26 million who have fled their countries (over half under the age of 18) and 3.5 million more are registered as asylum seekers.

Climate Change and Loss of Species: Our Greatest Challenges

Mottled and reddish, the Lake Oku puddle frog has made its tragic debut on the Red List, a rapidly expanding roll call of threatened species. It was once abundant in the Kilum-Ijim rainforest of Cameroon but has not been seen since 2010 and is now listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct.

Red Alert for Blue Planet and Small Island States

Barely a week passes without alarming news of the most recent scientific research into the global climate crisis compounding a growing sense of urgency, particularly the impact on small island states from rising sea levels and extreme weather.

Africa’s Investment Drive Gathers Pace

Headwinds are blowing amid IMF warnings of a “synchronised slowdown” in global economic growth, yet Africa’s investment drive is still gathering pace, supported by intense international competition in development finance.

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