Also available in: Français, Español
IFEX members have provided submissions for a number of countries up for review in the latest round of examinations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, a UN mechanism set up in 2006.
Journalists' organisations and media executives in the Democratic Republic of Congo have imposed a six-month embargo on media coverage of a member of parliament for his violent behaviour against the media. It's just one tactic in their campaign against the "noticeable rise" in attacks against journalists ahead of the November elections, say Journaliste en danger (JED) and other IFEX members.
To mark its 50-year anniversary, Amnesty International launched Amnesty TV last week - a biweekly, 15-minute, online show that mixes satire and stunts with documentaries, opinion and news about human rights stories around the world. Watch it here.
Whether from a dictator who has sent cyber police onto the Internet, or from a fraudster trying to steal your identity, learn how to protect yourself from threats online with Access Now's guide on digital security.
On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, IFEX members paid tribute to the women at the forefront of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, along with women journalists, writers and activists who speak out for their rights in the face of repression.
Thousands of people protested in Turkey on 4 March calling for an end to the repression of Turkish journalists in reaction to last week's detention of at least nine journalists and writers for their alleged links to the "Ergenekon" coup plots, report local IFEX members IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET) and the Initiative for Freedom of Expression (Antenna-TR), as well as other IFEX members.
The death of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana in April 2008 in the Gaza Strip shocked the world. The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has produced a short film in honour of Shana and the many other Palestinian photographers "who have paid the high price of continued Israeli attacks." It's just one of MADA's many creative ways to engage the public in media freedom issues.
There's still time to enter the "Lend your Voice to the Voiceless" contest, with the first round of voting wrapping up on 15 March. Post your video, song or lyrics about crimes against journalists, or vote for your favourite entry. The winner will have their song professionally recorded. Find out more on the Lend Your Voice
website, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
On 3 February, a record 55 IFEX members called on the Egyptian government to respect and protect freedom of expression and the right to information. See messages of support from IFEX members here
A year ago last January, Sri Lankan cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda mysteriously disappeared. Two years ago this month, independent TV station Sirasa was bombed with military precision - a couple of days before well-known editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was critical of his government's war against the Tamil Tigers, was killed. Today, none of the cases have been solved, and no one has been brought to justice. Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) and other IFEX members have launched a series of campaigns and actions to commemorate one of Sri Lanka's "cruellest months for journalists."
As Hungary assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union, EU politicians, journalists and a number of IFEX members have banded together against the country's steadfast refusal to scrap its new media law, report the International Press Institute (IPI), its affiliate the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), and other IFEX members.
The U.K.'s coalition government has promised sweeping changes to England's much-criticised libel laws, paying tribute to Index on Censorship's libel reform campaign which has "led the debate on this issue for so long."
Picture this: someone writes, emails or phones you to say that something you wrote on your blog is libellous and is threatening to sue. Do you take it seriously? Do you take down your material? Do you say you're sorry? Or do you face your nemesis in court? The independent charitable trust Sense About Science has put together a guide entitled "So you've had a threatening letter. What can you do?"
Cartoonists and writers are raising awareness of free expression issues in Central Asia this week by competing in essay and caricature contests launched by IFEX members and partners in the region to commemorate World Press Freedom Day.
Journalists, free expression advocates and media owners in Kenya got some bad news at the beginning of 2009, after they learned that President Mwai Kibaki had signed into law a contentious media bill that imposed new restrictions on the press. But thanks to an immediate and massive campaign launched by IFEX member the Media Institute and the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), President Kibaki directed the Attorney General and the Information Minister to review the bill and facilitate its return to parliament for debate.
Under the slogan "What you don’t know can hurt you”, ARTICLE 19 and the National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS) have launched the Permanent Campaign to Protect Journalists in Mexico on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
CPJ’s Bob Dietz was on the ground in Hong Kong when John Ray, a reporter for ITV in England was hauled off by Chinese police while covering a peaceful protest in Beijing. He posted on the CPJ Blog about China’s “tough talk” the next day, as officials denounced the arrest of Ray and admitted he was working within the rules afforded him as a journalist. Though positive, Dietz wrote that it was “too little too late” and kept the pressure on Chinese and Olympic officials to respect media freedom.
Sri Lanka has long been considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for practising journalists. In early 2008 this already perilous situation escalated, with the media suffering increasing cases of intimidation from the government. In May, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and more than 45 international organisations responded to the situation by launching the campaign, "Stop the War on Journalists in Sri Lanka". The campaign calls for the government to honour the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression by protecting and supporting its journalists.
As Nepal headed into constituent assembly elections on 10 April, press freedom violations continued unabated across the country, despite a government promise earlier this year to "take seriously" the safety of media workers.
2007 was a brutal year for Somali journalists: nine reporters were killed, 53 media professionals were arrested, and five media houses were closed down, reports the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ). Press freedom violations skyrocketed by over 85 percent from the previous year, as political unrest and civil war escalated.
Campaigns sessions at the IFEX General Meeting were well attended and helped to establish directions for campaigning and advocacy activities at the local, regional and international levels. Organisations from across the IFEX network were involved in designing, facilitating and participating in the following sessions that will continue developing with support from the IFEX Campaigns Programme.
Momentum is building around various campaigns across Africa as IFEX members step up the pressure against repressive governments. Their courageous work is aimed at ending the criminalisation of publication offenses that see editors and journalists receive threats to their safety, the closure of media outlets, legal battles and imprisonment.
As Executive Director of the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and lawyer, Gamal Eid often finds himself campaigning for justice for imprisoned bloggers and journalists, including Al Jazeera reporter Huwaida Taha, who is appealing a six months jail sentence incurred as a result of a documentary on torture she filmed in Egypt. Then in May, Eid himself was threatened with five years in prison after a Judge filed a bogus lawsuit against him, citing "extortion". HRinfo's website, which houses information from 141 members in 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as IFEX's Arabic site, looked doomed for closure. Eid talked to Kristina Stockwood, IFEX Outreach Coordinator, about his case, free expression in the region in general, and why HRinfo will never give up the fight.
The conflict in Sri Lanka has been escalating since the failure of the 2002 peace talks. As tension and violence rises between government, paramilitary groups and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, journalists and media outlets are facing increased dangers as they try to cover the political and economic situation in the country.
In the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, several IFEX members have launched campaigns to monitor, mobilise and advocate for free expression in China, where authorities have jailed and restricted journalists, political essayists and bloggers.
Rinata Alibekova was recently hired as the IFEX Central Asia Project Coordinator and is based at the office of IFEX member Adil Soz, in Kazakhstan. In her role, Rinata is seeking to initiate new advocacy efforts while supporting ongoing activities across the region with organisations in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, working together to advocate for freedom of expression in Central Asia.
A recent international mission took place in conjunction with the “Media Support Strategies” conference organised by the Proyecto Antonio Nariño - a coalition of media support organisations led by the Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP) - along with International Media Support (IMS) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF), this past September 2006 in Bogota, Colombia. The conference included participation by various IFEX members, and emphasised the importance of developing national and international advocacy efforts. The Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP), Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) and IMS were recently interviewed about their efforts, insights and strategies towards promoting a climate of press freedom in Colombia in the face of mounting obstacles.
The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in the Philippines has been working tirelessly to address the unsolved attacks and murders of Philippine journalists and is currently campaigning for justice in the murder case of journalist Marlene Esperat. Nathan Lee, CMFR's Press Alerts Officer, was interviewed by Sheila Gruner, IFEX Campaigns Programme Coordinator, in early September 2006.
PEN Canada is leading a campaign to free Ramin Jahanbegloo of Iran, a Canadian-Iranian academic currently imprisoned in Iran. Kristina Stockwood, IFEX Outreach Coordinator, spoke to David Cozac, PEN Canada’s Programmes Coordinator, and Morteza Abdolalian, Editor and Publisher of IRAN WATCH CANADA.