World Press Freedom Review

It is again the time of the year when IPI publishes it´s  World  Press Freedom Review. The year 2009 was a bad one – the worst in a decade. A total of 110 journalists were killed because of their work. 2006 was almaost as bad:  100 were killed. That year Irak was the bad place, total 46 journalists were killed  in Iraq.

Last year´s bloody figures were driven skywards on 31 November, when 32 journalists were massacred in the Philippines.

Press freedom developments were even worse in Iran, where the authorities brutally cracked down on journalists following violent unrest sparked by allegations of vote-rigging during the re-election of President Ahmadinejad in June, and again following street protests in December. Dozens of journalists have been detained without trial, and several sentenced to long prison sentences.

You can find IPI review from here: IFEX

CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) has also published it´s own survey Attacks on the Press.

In the introduction to the survey Joel Simmons says that advocacy campaingns are diffcult and challenging in the new diffuse media landscape. But he believes that blogs, e-mail blasts, and social media to shape public opinion is useful also when you are fighting for the human rights of journalists working in repressive countries.

“The good news is that these new strategies are effective, even in places you would not expect. Governments, including the most recalcitrant and repressive, still respond to international pressure.”

Read the whole introduction: Simmons


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Journalism prize to bystander and cell phone video

The unnamed people who captured on video and made public the shooting death of an Iranian protester have been chosen as winners of a George Polk Award, the first time the journalism prize has honored work produced anonymously.

The awards, presented by Long Island University, are considered among the top prizes in U.S. journalism. They were created in 1949 in honor of CBS reporter George W. Polk, who was killed while covering the Greek civil war.

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Bad numbers of 2009

137 journalists and media personnel were killed during 2009. The year ends with one of the highest numbers  of targeted killings of journalists ever recorded.

Mexico and Somalia are designated the most dangerous countries for journalists although in 2009 the Philippines came along with a rush of media killings at the end of the year.

The IFJ list of work related media killings is coordinated with the International News Safety Institute (INSI) and contains 137 journalists and media personnel who died during 2009 against 109 killings recorded in 2008. Of these, 24 were accidental deaths while journalists were at work.

In Iraq which has been for most of the decade the most dangerous country for journalists media deaths are down to five killings in 2009 against 16 last year as the country’s political crisis has eased.

But the shocking statistics of the year are found in the Philippines where 38 journalists and media staff were killed in 2009 – most of them victims of a massacre in the Maguindano province on 23 November which claimed 31 media casualties.

The IFJ says this unprecedented attack and continued violence against media in other hot spots is a challenge to governments which in 2006 were told by the United Nations Security Council to take steps to protect journalists and media in conflict zones.

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CPJ´s 2009 prison census: Freelance journalists under fire

Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, says the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally.

A massive crackdown in Iran, where 23 journalists are now in jail, fueled the worldwide increase.

Read more from CPJ

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Poverty and Human Rights

Irene Khan says in her book The Unheard Truth that poverty is an Human Rights Issue and that fighting poverty is about fighting deprivation, exclusion, insecurity and powerlessness.

People living in poverty lack material resources but that more than that, they lack control over their own lives. To tackle global poverty, we need to focus on the human rights abuses that drive poverty and keep people poor. Giving people a say in their own future, and demanding that they be treated with dignity and respect for their rights is the way to make progress.

Listen Irene Khan to read excerpt from the book in YouTube.

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News from Copenhagen

SPECIAL COVERAGE: IPS and TerraViva from Copenhagen

Will the climate change summit taking place Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen make deals that are fair, ambitious and binding? IPS news agency has mobilised a team of 15 journalists, drawn largely from Africa, Asia and Latin America, to go to Copenhagen and find out. IPS’ independent TerraViva newspaper will produce the latest news on the conference every day in English, Spanish and French, complete with photos, videos and other multimedia content.

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The Global Day of Solidarity

The International Federation of Journalists  issued a new call to journalists across the world to join the Global Day of Solidarity on Wednesday, 9 December, to demand justice for the 31 journalists slaughtered in Maguindanao province of the Philippines on 23rd November.

30 journalists have been confirmed dead and one missing out of a total 57 people massacred by around 100 armed men on the 23rd November. The convoy was travelling across country to nominate a candidate for the May elections when they were confronted by gunmen from the Ampatuan clan who subsequently murdered everyone and buried their bodies in shallow pits.

This is the biggest single atrocity against journalists on record.

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