On the eve of World Refugee Day, Reporters Without Borders is releasing a report about its activities in support of journalists in distress and journalists who have been forced to flee abroad. Providing financial assistance, hiring lawyers and contacting government officials to request visas are just some of the activities of this steadily-growing section. The Assistance Desk created in Paris in 2004 was joined by another one in Berlin at the start of this year.
The figures for this section’s activities in 2009 include handling approximately 120 cases of journalists who had fled their country and granting 130,000 euros in emergency financial assistance. More than 50 cases have already been handled since the start of this year. Iran has become a major focus of its activities in the past 12 months, representing at least 80 per cent of its work.
This report includes not only a summary of these activities but also comments by the Reporters Without Borders staff explaining the problems and challenges they have been facing. The second part consists of interviews with four journalists who have found refuge in France. They talk about the circumstances that led to their flight abroad, the press freedom situation in their countries and their hopes for the future.
On the final page, Reporters Without Borders makes a number of recommendations to governments for improving the protection of journalists who have had to flee abroad and for responding to their need for a safe refuge.