At a time when press freedom is deteriorating in many states participating in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, having a voice to raise journalist cases and hold governments to account is vital. In a recent interview, the organization’s new Freedom of the Media representative Harlem Désir discusses his plans and explains why he is prioritizing journalist safety, fighting impunity and combating violent extremism online.
Journalists can no longer afford to ignore the growing threats of targeted surveillance and digital attacks, writes Citizen Lab’s Ron Deibert in the recently released book “Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State.”
As Russian troops streamed into Crimea, Ukraine, yesterday, masked gunmen broke into and seized the office of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism in the region’s capital, Simferopol. The group of about 30 men, dressed in military fatigues, targeted offices housing the Information and Press Center, a hub for independent media in the region, and the Crimean investigative center. After breaking a window and forcing their way through the front door, militia leader Konstantin Knyrik announced that the offices would now house representatives of “The Crimean Front,” because from “this building does not come true information.” “We do not need to escalate this,” Knyrik told the journalists, according to the Crimean investigative center’s website. “All employees can come to work. We promise them, if their sponsors refuse to pay the salary, we will find them entrepreneurs.