Thursday, May 3, 2018
On May 3rd it is World Press Freedom Day. Recent studies by Free Press Unlimited and European Journalism Centre (EJC) show that in a number of countries press freedom is increasingly restricted. Therefore, Free Press Unlimited wants to highlight the importance of press freedom world wide.

"Rather than focusing exclusively on the obstacles journalists around the world are facing, let’s mark May 3 by considering the many reasons for optimism." - Leon Willems, director of Free Press Unlimited

Press "freedom" in 2018

The study Media Landscapes done by Free Press Unlimited and EJC shows that in many countries press freedom is being restricted. This happens in many ways; from brutal violence against journalists to restrictive legal, technical and financial measures. Neglecting journalistic training and low payment for journalists and media workers are among the lesser known repressive measurements.

Violence close to home

Recently these types of incidents and issues have occurred closer to home. Violence against journalists is now raging through Europe as well. With the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak as the culmination. But the good news is that people are not letting the Maltese and Slovak governments get away with it. In both countries people are taking to the streets to protest for prosecution and justice for the crimes.

Bright spots in the media landscape

Another bright spot for media is the world's access to the internet. Right now almost half of the world's population has access to the internet while five years ago this was less than 30 per cent. In a war-torn country like Somalia this leads to flourishing online communities. Platforms where news, opinions, cultural differences, and taboos are openly discussed.

Strong position from exile  

Furthermore we see the strength of media in exile. For the citizens of countries like Sudan, Iran and South-Sudan, they bring life-saving independent news and information. Through satellite and shortwave connections and with new communication tools like WhatsApp, stations such as Radio Dabanga, Zamaneh Media and Radio Tamazuj succeed to fulfill the role of free and independent media.