On World Press Freedom Day, RFE/RL pays video tribute to journalists working in some of the world’s most dangerous and restrictive environments to report news and document censorship, despite a glaring lack of basic media freedoms.
According to Freedom House’s “Freedom of the Press 2012” report, 13 of RFE/RL’s broadcast countries are classified as “Not Free” and another eight as “Partly Free.”
Featured in RFE/RL’s video is investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who has drawn worldwide support from media and human rights organizations after she was targeted in a recent blackmail campaign, believed to be retaliation for her reporting on corruption in Azerbaijan, a country that ranks 172 out of 197 on Freedom House’s list of overall media freedom.
“Khadija’s case reminds us that there is still significant progress to be made on press freedom around the globe,” said RFE/RL President Steve Korn. “From Belarus to Iran, and across Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, RFE/RL journalists and their colleagues face intimidation or worse on a daily basis.”
Earlier this year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released the latest edition of its “Enemies of the Internet” report which included RFE/RL target countries Iran, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. A recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also listed Iran, Belarus, and Uzbekistan among its list of the ten most censored countries in the world.
“Despite being banned and blocked there, hundreds of thousands of Iranians every month find a way to get news and information from RFE/RL’s Radio Farda,” adds Korn. “As our audiences in places like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus can attest, people who want accurate news and information will find a way to get it, no matter what restrictions are placed on them.”