In the contemporary world of journalism, female reporters face a double jeopardy: they are increasingly targeted both as journalists and as women-- particularly in repressive regimes and misogynistic societies.
Have you ever heard of a workers’ strike or similar labour action for press freedom? And how long do you think it lasted? A day? A week? A month? And where and when do you think this happened?
Workers strike for press freedom
Six decades ago, in 1961, Said Zahari
, the editor of the Malay language daily, Utusan Melayu
, led a strike of journalists and other employees. The protracted strike, in both Malaysia and Singapore today, was for press freedom rather than employee welfare.
Every time a woman journalist receives threats of physical and sexual violence, cyber attacks and surveillence, doxxing, public humiliation, damage to her professional & personal credibility, the driving forces behind these intents are deeply rooted misogyny, sexism and abuse of power.
WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: a reminder to governments of their commitment to press freedom. This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme: “Information as a Public Good.”
When Myanmar’s military seized power from the elected government in February, one of its first actions
was to further squeeze the already restricted free flow of information in the country. It obstructed news stations, temporarily shuttered phone and internet access, and blocked social media platforms.
Edmund Burke called the press the fourth estate, the fourth pillar of democracy, with an oversight role on the remaining three pillars – the legislature, executive and the judiciary. In an ideal world, this fourth estate would have unimpeded access to the other three pillars so that the citizenry could be kept informed at all times. This freedom was conceived to be so sacrosanct that many countries have included it as a fundamental right, e.g., the US Constitution enshrined it as the very first amendment.
Access to accurate information is vitally important during the pandemic, so that people can understand how to protect themselves and their families, and to hold their governments to account for their response to the health emergency.
Spyware’s repeated use to target journalists and those close to them poses an existential threat to the privacy required for press freedom to flourish. Without the ability to privately communicate with sources, conduct research, and compile information, journalists are hampered in their ability to keep the public informed and hold the powerful to account.
Investigative journalist and media executive Maria Ressa of the Philippines has been named as the 2021 laureate of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals. The Award Ceremony will take place on 2 May in Windhoek, Namibia, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference
, and be streamed online.
is all that you can't say.
Years gone by and still
words don't come easily,
like forgive me, forgive me.
The World Press Freedom Day
on the 3rd of May is an occasion for celebrating humanity. Language enables us to transmit our thoughts in sound – a means of communication developed through our unique brain, combined with our capacity to control lips, tongue and other components of the vocal apparatus. Over time, humans have also acquired skills to commit our language to writing.
Independent journalism is facing a growing crackdown one year into the COVID-19 pandemic as governments around the world restrict access to information and muzzle critical reporting, media and rights watchdogs have warned.