World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, is an occasion for Reporters Without Borders to reaffirm the values it defends, the right to inform and the right to access information, without which democracy is impossible. It is also an occasion for us to reiterate our support for all those working for media freedom, both professional journalists and ordinary citizens who report news and expose the truth.
Since the start of 2010, nine journalists have paid with their lives for being outspoken while around 300 journalists and netizens are currently detained.
This date is the focal point of many of our activities in defence of press freedom. The list of “Predators of Press Freedom” is released today, backed by a campaign ad produced by the Saatchi & Saatchi agency and designed by artists Stephen J Shanabrook and Veronika Georgieva.
There are 40 names on this year’s list of predators, 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.
Reporters Without Borders is today launching a monthly video report in partnership with France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel. Using photos and video, each month’s report will examine the press freedom situation in one country or a particular aspect of press freedom.
The latest Reporters Without Borders book of photographs for press freedom has been on sale since 29 April. The result of collaboration with Magnum Photos, it is a collection of 101 Magnum photos that have made their mark in international news reporting since 1936.
Last Friday (30 April), Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brik gave a news conference with Reporters Without Borders at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, just one day after his release from a Tunisian prison.
In honour of the Shanghai World Expo, the biggest display of Chinese might since the 2008 Olympic Games, Reporters Without Borders has for the past week been inviting Internet users to visit a specially created page on its website dedicated to the freedoms that are flouted in China. It is ironically called the “Garden of Freedoms”: http://en.rsf.org/shanghai_en.html
Reporters Without Borders is planning three other events in the next few weeks: the release of a report on the environment and journalism, the release of a report on the dangers of reporting in areas controlled by organised crime, and a handbook on covering elections that was produced in partnership with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
Reporters Without Borders, which this year is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its creation, continues its work of monitoring, analysing and denouncing press freedom violations and injustice. Censorship and repression prevail in some countries, such as China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Reporting has become extremely dangerous if not impossible in countries such as Honduras and Mexico. The difficulty of shedding the Soviet past continues to pose major problems for media freedom in Eastern Europe. Laws that are entirely praiseworthy in principle, ones protecting copyright or combating pornography and paedophilia, can have a negative impact on media freedom in Western Europe. The situation in the Middle East is marked by censorship, state control of the media, and the Internet’s adoption by the region’s restless youth.
Reporters Without Borders is continuing to support the France 3 television journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier and their Afghan assistants, who were kidnapped in the province of Kapisa, in eastern Afghanistan, on 30 December.
These different situations are described in the country files on the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org). All these violations of the right to report and receive the news, which often result in lives been destroyed, deserve our attention.