Press Freedom

Human Rights Concerns Ahead of Zimbabwe Polls

Zimbabwe holds general elections next month amid growing human rights and press freedom concerns in what analysts say could mar conditions for undisputed poll results.

Guatemala Clings to Democratic Promise

When Guatemalans went to the polls on 25 June, distrust and disillusionment were rife. First place in the presidential contest was claimed by none of the candidates: it went to invalid votes, at 17 per cent. Many didn’t bother, resulting in an abstention rate over 40 per cent.

‘News Deserts’ Are Rampant in Latin America

Without the means to receive information about what is happening around them, millions of Latin Americans who live in poor remote rural or impoverished urban areas inhabit veritable news deserts, according to an increasing number of studies conducted by journalistic organizations in the region.

Hong Kong’s Lights of Freedom Extinguished

Nothing was more predictable than repression. Merely for holding candles and flowers, people were taken away by Hong Kong’s police. The occasion was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 4 June 1989. Hong Kong was until recently home to mass annual vigils where thousands gathered to keep alive the memory of that day. But that’s all gone now in the crackdown that followed large-scale protests for democracy that erupted in 2019.

Hopes for Renewal Dashed in Turkey

Turkey’s election hasn’t produced the change many thought was on the cards. Now women’s groups, LGBTQI+ people and independent journalists are among those fearing the worse. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led the country for two decades, first as prime minister and then as president, prevailed in the 28 May runoff poll, taking around 52.2 per cent of the vote, with his opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on 47.8 per cent.

Urgency for a Global Fund for Media & Journalism

There have been an array of proposals to sustain journalism around the world-- from tax incentives and subsidies to the idea of allocating 1% of governments’ GDP to a drastically increased ODA for independent journalism in the global South.

How Wagner Group, Mercenaries With a Wider Agenda, Impact Civil Society

The Wagner Group, a shadowy mercenary group that has been operating for many years in African countries such as Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, and other mainly Francophone countries, has again been thrust into the limelight due to its involvement in the Ukraine war on behalf of Russia.

USAID Offers Protection to Journalists & NGOs Facing Defamation Lawsuits

The world’s news media -- both under authoritarian regimes and democratic governments-- continue to come under relentless attacks and political harassment.

Uzbekistan: A President for Life?

Where will you be in 2040? For Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the answer is: in the Kuksaroy Presidential Palace. That’s the chief consequence of the referendum held in the Central Asian country on 30 April. With dissent tightly controlled in conditions of closed civic space, there was no prospect of genuine debate, a campaign against, or a no vote.

Three Imprisoned Iranian Women Journalists Awarded 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Niloofar Hamedi, Elaheh Mohammadi and Narges Mohammadi have been named as the laureates of the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of an International Jury of media professionals. The awards ceremony took place on the evening of May 2 in New York, in the presence of Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO.

Drone Journalism Holds Great Potential to Improve Safety of Journalists in Africa’s Volatile Situations

In a departure from the past, where journalists in Kenya have freely covered anti-government protests unharmed, a series of events that unfolded in March 2023 have heightened fears of the re-emergence of brutal physical attacks on journalists. According to the Media Council of Kenya, in a span of two weeks, more than 25 journalists were harassed, arrested and held in police cells, physically attacked, expensive equipment destroyed and footage deleted during the opposition-led demonstrations.

World Press Freedom Day 2023


 

World Press Freedom Day was inaugurated by the United Nations in 1993. The 3rd of May will mark its 30th anniversary with the theme of:

Safeguarding the Future of Independent Media – & Our Democracies

There’s a now familiar groan every time the lights go out in South Africa. Due to a critical shortage of electricity, the national power utility institutes a daily regimen of scheduled power cuts.

UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists

Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democratic society. Without a debate of ideas, without verified facts, without diversity of perspectives, democracy is a shadow of itself; and World Press Freedom Day was established to remind us of this.

A Proposal for a UN Freedom of Information Act Never Got Off the Ground

The United Nations has consistently been a vociferous advocate of freedom of the press – and, most importantly, the right of journalists to report without fear of reprisals. But regrettably, the UN is also one of most opaque institutions where transparency is never the norm.

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?

Fiji: Deeper Democracy or Continuing Danger?

It’s been a time of significant change in Fiji following the country’s December 2022 election. A close vote was followed by the formation of a new coalition government. Frank Bainimarama was out as prime minister after 16 years, replaced by Sitiveni Rabuka.

“Defending Human Rights Is a Crime in Some Countries and a Deadly Activity in Others”

In today's world, human rights defenders face immense challenges, with threats, attacks, and repression being rampant in many countries. According to the latest report by Front Line Defenders, killings of rights defenders increased in 2022, with a total of 401 deaths across 26 different countries. Despite the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 25 years ago, the threats faced by defenders persist globally.

Russia’s Press Freedom ‘Worst Since the Cold War’ – Analysts

The arrest of a US journalist in Russia has not only sent a chilling warning to foreign reporters in the country but is a sign of the Kremlin’s desire to ultimately stifle any dissent in the state, press freedom watchdogs have warned.

CIVICUS Report Exposes a Civil Society Under Attack

As conflict and crises escalate to create human emergencies that have displaced over 100 million people worldwide, civil society’s vital role of advocating for victims and monitoring human rights cannot be over-emphasised.

Bahrain’s Botched Whitewashing Attempt

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an organisation whose motto is ‘For democracy. For everyone’, just held its global assembly in a country with a mock parliament and not the slightest semblance of democracy. For Bahrain’s authoritarian leaders, the hosting of the IPU assembly was yet another reputation-laundering opportunity: a week before, they’d hosted Formula One’s opening race.

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