HostileEnvironments

How Creative Journalists Confront Hostile Media Environments

From a media outlet that pays citizens to report from remote areas of Kenya to a portal that uses humor as its main strategy to inform Russians, journalism faces different challenges in different cultural and social contexts. Creativity, however, seems to be a common skill that media entrepreneurs shared in addressing their problems at the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) on Saturday, April 16.

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Investigative Journalism & Foreign Aid: A Huge Return on Investment

It’s not unusual for investigative reporting to lead to huge fines. Exposés of foreign bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion have led to billions of dollars recovered by governments worldwide. What is shocking about these numbers is how they compare to the paucity of foreign aid to investigative journalists where it is most needed — in developing and transitioning countries.

NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Photo: By The All-Nite Images (CC License in Flickr).

Sometimes Dog Bites Man Really Is the Story – And We Keep Missing it

There are things that happen with such regularity and predictability that journalists have simply ceased to recognize their news value – not least if those things are least likely to happen to the people most likely to be journalists. That much of what we have come to accept as commonplace has dulled our curiosity to why so much of what is commonplace is unacceptable; that given the prevailing and escalating inequalities and inequities, we simply do not occupy the same worlds we portend to cover – even when those worlds are right on our door step.

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A Global Assault on Nonprofits

In an era of increasing hostility to independent media, one of the bright spots is the rapid expansion of journalism nonprofits around the world — training, promoting, and reporting on stories that otherwise would never see the light of day. But a dangerous trend now threatens the progress our colleagues have made on press freedom and watchdog reporting: a crackdown on nonprofit organizations. Restrictions on international funding account for more than a third of the measures since 2012. With that in mind, we are pleased to reprint this important story from the Journal of Democracy, detailing the global scope of the backlash.

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UNESCO Report Calls for Stronger Source Protection

On the occasion of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, UNESCO is releasing a new study today, World Trends In Freedom of Expression and Media Development. Of particular note is the chapter Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age. We are reprinting below that section’s key findings and recommendations, which add another important voice calling for stronger measures to protect sources.

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UN’s New Global Goal: Ensuring Public Access to Info

On September 25, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a United Nations summit. The new goals commit all 193 UN member states to an ambitious development agenda that calls for poverty eradication, environmental protection, gender equality, disease prevention, universal schooling, ‘inclusive’ growth, and good governance – and includes, for the first time a commitment to public access to information. This new commitment has potentially transformative implications for the free flow of information and independent media development worldwide.

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Reporter’s Journal: A Malaria Arrest

What happens when a journalist investigates treatment facilities for malaria patients in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo? For Francis Mbala, it led to his arrest and a Kafkaesque tale about the dangers of investigating in one of the world’s most corrupt countries. Mbala’s story comes from the ZAM Chronicle and is reprinted with permission.

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Journalism or Propaganda: Let’s Help Russian Media the Right Way

As a rule, media development grants are not news. But a number of Russia’s leading newspapers, including Izvestia and Moscow Times, reported last week that the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania (@USEmbVilnius) has announced that $500,000 is being made available to regional media organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Izvestia pointed to the grant as proof that the U.S. Government is also involved in propaganda and have called the grant anti-Russian. Although not widely known, Western governments — including the United States — are the largest donors to media. They spend tens of millions of dollars per year to help promote independent media, often through grants to large media development organizations in developing and transitioning countries around the world.