Ten years ago a young street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire in the central Tunisian provincial town of Sidi Bouzid to protest against police harassment. Bouazizi’s sacrificial act served as a catalyst and inspired the Tunisian people to take over the streets that led to the Jasmine Revolution in the country. On January 4, 2011 Mohamed Bouazizi died, and ten days later the country's authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s rule ended when he fled to Saudi Arabia.
An alarmingly high number of women journalists are now targets of online attacks associated with orchestrated digital disinformation campaigns. The impacts include self-censorship, retreat from visibility, an increased risk of physical injury, and a serious mental health toll. The main perpetrators? Anonymous trolls and political actors.
On Human Rights Day, civil society calls for the protection of civic space as a fundamental freedom, as more than 80% of the world’s population live in countries where civic space is closed, repressed or obstructed.
Reporters and other media workers in warzones across the world, are reliable witnesses who contribute to forging peace, and must be better-protected under international humanitarian law, said
the UN chief on Wednesday.
In mid-September, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved the renewal, for another two years, of the mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission to determine and document the existence of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, under the government of Nicolás Maduro.
A new UNESCO report highlights a sharp increase in the global number of protests during which the police and security forces violated media freedom in the first half of 2020. Between January and June this year, 21 protests around the world were marred by violations of press freedom, including protests in which journalists were attacked, arrested and even killed.
Recent weeks have seen a dramatic escalation in the U.S.’ stance towards tech companies from the People's Republic of China (PRC). After hounding the telecommunications company Huawei
for years, the social networking app TikTok
is the latest Chinese company to enter the firing line.
The presidents of the Americas, beyond their ideological differences, seem to agree in questioning the role of journalists and the media in the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, human rights organizations remind us of the fundamental role of information, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty like the one we are experiencing in this 2020.
While Mozambique was recently rattled by an arson attack on a local media organisation, experts say that it’s only a part of a worrying pattern of continuous attacks on the media in the country.
A Slovak businessman with alleged links to organised crime has been found not guilty of ordering the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak in a ruling that has left press freedom campaigners and politicians shocked.
Every era brings its own buzzwords or catchphrases along with it. The term du jour is ‘pandemic’, namely ‘coronavirus’ and ‘COVID-19’; but alongside these words, speculation and forecasts over the post-pandemic world are flourishing. There is a proliferation of pieces and commentary on what our daily lives or the economy will be like once the epidemic is under control, that is, how we will live in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Last week, Sierra Leone’s parliament voted to repeal the country’s 55-year-old libel law, which criminalised the publication of information that was deemed defamatory or seditious, and which had been used by successive governments to target and imprison media practitioners and silence dissenting views. But not everyone is convinced it was in the best interest of media freedom.
In May 2019, senior members of Ghana’s law enforcement posed for photos with the U.S. ambassador to their country at a ceremony
in the capital, Accra. Between them they held boxes and bags, gifts from the U.S. government to Ghana which, according to one of the recipients, contained Israeli phone hacking technology.
Governments have made the media “a scapegoat” across Asia, targeting journalists who are simply reporting on the failures or shortcomings of their leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, press freedom experts have warned.
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2020, join UNESCO for a dynamic online
discussion on the importance of press freedom and independent journalism to provide reliable,
life-saving information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics to be covered include:
• Fighting disinformation and rumours
• Journalists on the front lines: ensuring their health and safety
• The role of governments: protecting press freedom and independent journalism
• The role of social media and technology: supporting journalism and fighting disinformation
Press freedom in Bangladesh has been in decline long before the coronavirus came to our shores. Over the last decade, thanks to increasingly repressive media laws and highhanded measures adopted by the authorities, the health of journalism has been deteriorating in such a way that even the stalwarts of the fourth estate began to worry if the damage could ever be reversed. Yet, an outcome few would have expected during the Covid-19 crisis—which was expected to unite the people and their leaders against humanity's most dreaded enemy in decades—is the tightening of the noose around free flow of information, which holds the key to this unity. It's a self-defeating strategy that hurts not only the general people and the media, but those tightening the noose as well.
has designated at least 170 specific days of the year as occasions to mark particular events or topics to promote the objectives of the Organization. 2
This might be considered as yet another sign of a supersaturation caused by the internet revolution. However, it cannot be denied that certain issues need to be globally recognized and amended. UNESCO has declared that the 3rd of May will be a day to remind us that media are in several parts of the world under attack, their independence are denied, critical thinking is considered as a threat and journalists seeking the truth are harassed, threatened, roughed up, or even killed. I would like to add that it is also an opportunity to acknowledge that communication, critical thinking, and imagination are essential parts of human existence and culture, if this is suppressed the entire humanity will suffer.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May falls during COVID-19 lockdowns in many of our countries. Restriction on movement means journalists all over the world are facing obstacles in getting interviews and data, and verifying stories before publishing.
Andrew Sam Raja Pandian, a digital journalist and founder of a news portal in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was arrested for running two news articles related to COVID-19.
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.
May 3rd marks World Press Freedom Day
around the world. During this COVID-19 pandemic, a robust media environment is critical: access to life-saving information is key in the fight against the virus. As governments impose a range of restrictions in attempts to curb the pandemic, journalists help hold authorities to account by providing analysis, engaging in debate about government actions, and creating a space for dialogue about the future we all hope to see.