Threats to NGOs and civil society actors have escalated in a number of countries across Asia and the Pacific, among them the arrests of activists opposing the referendum in Thailand and supporters of the West Papua freedom movement in the Pacific.
In 2014, Hungarian investigative journalist András Pethő wrote an exposé about a series of expensive overseas business trips taken by the chief of staff to Prime Minister Viktor Orban for the popular website Origo.hu. Within days of the story’s publication, Origo’s editor in chief, Gergo Saling, resigned – apparently due to political pressure on Origo’s parent company, Magyar Telecom. Pethő and much of the rest of the site’s news staff quit soon afterwards in solidarity. The walkout led to much scrutiny of Origo and Hungary’s press freedom climate, both in Hungary and internationally.
Writing has been my life’s passion and my curse too. In my teens, I was bullied for being an avid reader and for wanting to express my opinions as informed by my readings. I vividly remember being taunted with the idea that “too much reading will bring you madness, and disgrace.”
Khadija Ismayilova is an internationally recognized investigative journalist known for her work digging into the hidden financial dealings of Azerbaijan’s first family. In jail and facing up to 12 years in prison, Ismayilova released her closing statement at her most recent trial through her lawyer. It’s published here.
The lights of free speech are being steadily extinguished across the Arab world, heralding a new era of ignorance, intolerance, and repression. Saddest of all, the majority of Arabs — who saw free speech as the only gain from the Arab Spring upheavals – now seem willing to accept the loss of this universal human right, in return for promises of stability and economic prosperity.
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Throughout much of the world, journalists’ legal rights of expression and access to information are ever-changing — and physical harm or financial injury are too often common. So it is some comfort to know that there are organizations willing to defend those legal rights established by regional, national, and international laws. Legal aid organizations may be limited, however, serving only a specific geographic region or limited to a specific area of law. Here are several well-established groups that specialize in getting legal assistance for journalists, as well as other helpful resources:
Media Legal Defence Initiative (International)
This global nongovernmental organization helps defend the rights of reporters across continents and across platforms — from print to broadcast and on line. The London-based group works with a network of legal defense organizations around the world, with individual lawyers and will also pay legal fees if necessary.
Close to 99% of crimes against journalists and the media are committed with impunity in Mexico, according to this infographic created by the International Freedom of Expression Network (IFEX). The numbers show an alarming trend: 72 journalists were murdered between 2000 and 2012. In the same time frame, there were 15 disappearances and 41 attacks with guns in the media. Sadly, only 19% of these cases have been investigated and only 7% resulted in conviction. Scroll down to find out more about who is being targeted and who is responsible. The infographic is also available in Arabic, French, and Spanish.
Online is no refuge: The PEN American Center, an association of writers and others working to defend free expression, created this interactive report to showcase the global rise of digital repression, using data from its case files over the past 12 years.
Join us today in honoring World Press Freedom Day and lend your support to free and independent media around the world. This year, the annual event focuses on the theme of “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.” As part of that, UNESCO has released an infographic on the dangers of being a journalist in a culture of impunity. Each week, on average, a journalist dies while doing his or her job. Yet, over the past 10 years, only 1 in 10 cases of crimes against journalists, media workers, and online producers has led to a conviction. Join GIJN by supporting World Press Freedom Day — there are events worldwide you can find by checking this collaborative map.