Press freedom groups, civil society organizations, journalism institutions, filmmakers, and other supporters have formed a coalition in support of Maria Ressa and independent media in the Philippines, united around the call to #HoldTheLine. The campaign takes its name from Ressa's commitment to "hold the line" in response to sustained state harassment and prolific online violence. Best known for two decades of covering South East Asia for CNN and founding the multi-award winning Philippines news website Rappler, on June 15, Ressa was convicted of “cyber-libel,” alongside former Rappler colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr -- a criminal charge for which they face up to six years in prison.
The Chinese Loans to Africa Database out of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, China Africa Research Initiative, was updated on July 1. Since 2007, its researchers have collected, cleaned and analyzed open-source data to create a database on Chinese lending to Africa. Its data sources include official government documents, contractor websites, fieldwork, interviews, and media sources. Between 2000 and 2018, the researchers estimate that Chinese financiers signed 1,077 loan commitments worth US$ 148 billion with African governments and their state owned enterprises.
Source: Chinese Africa Research Initiative
Almost all Hong Kong Journalists Association members who responded to a survey oppose the national security law Beijing, in a poll which recorded their fears over personal safety and self-censorship in the industry. Some 98% of the 150 respondents said they were against the legislation, with an overwhelming majority also registering concerns over its potential impact on press freedom and their own welfare. The new law aims to prevent, stop, and punish secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, and foreign interference in Hong Kong. Critics warn the law could be used to suppress dissent and erode freedoms, while Beijing has repeatedly said it would only target a minority of lawbreakers.
Source: South China Morning Post
Facebook will be updating the way news stories are ranked in its News Feed to prioritize original reporting, executives told Axios. It will also demote stories that aren't transparent about who has written them, down-ranking news that doesn't have bylines, or present information about the company's editorial staff on the publishers' website. Facebook says that in order to identify which original stories to promote, it will use artificial intelligence to analyze groups of articles on a particular story topic and identify the ones most often cited as the original source.
Journalists in Russia questioning the response to the Covid-19 pandemic are being hit with fines and investigations stemming from new laws on “fake news,” reports the International Press Institute. The harassment is intensifying an already hostile landscape for independent media. Authorities have issued dozens of take down and correction orders and threatened to block news websites over coverage, while one journalist is under criminal investigation for an article she published.
Source: International Press Institute
ARTICLE 19 warns that the situation for journalists has reached crisis levels in Brazil as the media tries to cope with threats and attacks by supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro. Three media outlets -- Globo, Folha and Metropoles -- no longer let their staff report from the presidential residence in Brasilia due to attacks by Bolsonaro goons. The harassment is part of a broader pattern by Bolsonaro supporters on the press that include physical attacks, verbal abuse, and doxxing.
Source: Article 19