Journalists from around the world have been going to Collioure, France, twice each year since 1993. They do not go to see where Matisse and Picasso painted, nor to visit the historic sites that span the past 13 centuries. This picturesque town, on the Mediterranean Sea a little north of the Spanish border, attracts writers and reporters who have just one thing in mind: to learn how to cover assignments in a high-risk zone such as a war.
May 3 is not just another day. This first Friday of the month will mark the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. There are hundreds of reasons why we need to pause and reflect. Here are 10 reasons taken from the recent headlines at Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
He was young, only 28, and full of life. You can tell from the online pictures and videos that he loved his work as a broadcaster and was good at it. At 9 p.m. Dec. 5, Kazbek Gekkiyev was shot three times in the head in North Caucasus, Russia.
The violence is so bad in Honduras that politicians running for office provide free coffins to families of murder victims. Perhaps you read part of this Oct. 2 Associated Press story: “Charities organized by politicians scour poor neighborhoods in search of families of murder victims who cannot afford funeral services or even a simple casket to bury their beloved.
Whether you call the nation Burma or Myanmar, the situation is the same for its journalists: confusing and frustrating. News media have experienced almost everything possible since a military junta took over in September 1988. Now they are involved in a political tug of war with the government as they fight for full and unconditional freedom of the press.
Journalists in South Africa say that new legislation, popularly called a secrecy bill, will threaten freedom of the press. Government officials contend it will protect the country and its citizens. On the surface, the bill seems simple: “To provide for the protection of certain information from destruction, loss or unlawful disclosure; to regulate the manner in which information may be protected; to repeal the Protection of Information Act, 1982; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”
The grass is not so green in Mongolia By Bruce C. Swaffield There is a Mongolian proverb that says, “Times are not always the same; the grass is not always green.” The times these days are not so good for journalists in Mongolia.
The recent headlines concerning Iran are downright frightening: “EU Urges Iran to Stop Execution of Web Designer Saeed Malekpour”; “German reporter describes Iran jail torture”; “Iran: Death for blogging”; “Journalists’ Families Targeted In Iran”; “Iran: Journalists Threatened by Email ‘You Will be Punished.’”
Even if you are the most ardent journalist and observer of world affairs, you probably haven’t heard about the new media bill that was passed Dec. 14 in Algeria. It is not good news. Just how bad it is, though, is unclear.
There are myriad monuments in Bishkek commemorating all sorts of people: dancers, soldiers, politicians, poets, common laborers, even a 7-foot, 5-inch man. In the entire capital of Kyrgyzstan, however, no statue is more important to me than the one of Gennady Pavlyuk.
By most accounts, the Dominican Republic is a lovely place. In fact, 4 million tourists — a new record — visited the country last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. If you look deeper, past the white-washed resorts with their clear-blue pools, you will discover an unattractive side to all this beauty.
It is difficult enough for journalists in Pakistan, but what about those who are women? They seem to be fighting a double battle, to be recognized by both their male counterparts as well as the rest of society. But there is a group that has taken on the challenge of helping women who want to pursue careers in journalism.
Between 145 and 150 journalists are in jails around the world, as of early May. China and Iran have the most: 34 in each country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Figures from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are slightly lower: 30 in China and 27 in Iran.
How would you like to be a journalist in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung or Medan? Sure, the weather and scenery are great. But don’t count on getting rich or even living comfortably. Journalists in some parts of Indonesia make as little as 55 cents per story.
Imagine my excitement when I read this startling headline recently: “First Friends of Cuba Journalist Association Created in Argentina.” Finally, I thought, an official group has been organized to help the struggling and imprisoned journalists in Cuba. According to the story by Kaloian Santos Cabrera in Juventud Rebelde, “Some 40 Argentinean journalists from different media outlets took part in the founding ceremony of the Argentinean Friends of Cuba Association of Journalists (CAPAC), held in Buenos Aires on October 12.”
A fellow journalist is dead. She was our neighbor to the north and a colleague in the profession, reporting from Afghanistan for the Calgary Herald in Alberta, Canada. Michelle Lang, 34, died in December 2009 when an IED destroyed the armored vehicle she was riding in.
Not far from my house in Virginia Beach, the great Cameroon journalist Pius Njawe was killed. He died in a car accident as he was coming to this area to visit relatives. Before July 12, I did not know much about Mr.
From the Republic of Yemen, the news this month falls into three categories: the good, the bad and the sad. First, the good news. The United States Embassy in Sana’a is offering grants to local journalists who want to learn English.
A team of reporters was recognized recently for writing about the plight of the boat people in western Myanmar. But the news was not so much about the Human Rights Press Award, which was presented in Hong Kong in April. In this case, the real news is the story itself.
It is time for us to do something. Now. The situation for journalists in the Philippines continues to worsen each day and each year. We have to help those in the media before more of them are hurt, arrested, shot, imprisoned or killed.
The land Down Under may soon impose strict Internet controls. Proponents say the move will protect children. Opponents contend the Great Aussie Firewall is nothing more than outright censorship. The Australian government announced in December that it will move forward in early 2010 with plans to implement an Internet filtering system to censor questionable Web sites.
I like what I see these days at Al Jazeera. They are doing the kind of journalism that made me want to enter this profession in the first place. Go to english.aljazeera.net and you’ll find live streams, video links, interactive pages for citizen journalists, compelling photographs and breaking news from around the world.
So much for citizen journalism in Egypt. One blogger in Port Said learned that being honest comes at a very high price. Tamer Mabrouk was only trying to help his community when he decided to expose some local problems. It cost him his job and his apartment.
Ever hear of the WJEC? If not, you’re about to learn why our profession desperately needs an organization like the World Journalism Education Council. The reasons will be obvious, once you understand more about its work and purpose. Simply put, WJEC is a unique partnership of academic organizations “involved in journalism and mass communication at the university level.”
If you have never heard of Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi before, you will definitely know him after reading his story. Yaqub is a reporter based in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He was trained by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and has dedicated his life to telling the truth.
Much is written about North Korea, but little is really known about the Hermit Kingdom. This nation is “the world‘s most isolated country,” according to Reporters Without Borders (www.rsf.org). For journalists throughout the world, Chõson (as it is called by those who live there) is second only to Eritrea when it comes to media censorship and control.
What are your plans for World Press Freedom Day on May 3? Each of us should do something to mark the occasion, even if we spend only a few moments in silence thinking about the scores of journalists who have died in the line of duty: 438 individuals since 2002 alone, according to Reporters Without Borders (www.rsf.org).
March 3rd, 2009 • Quill Archives
Italian job: Getting work as a reporter is no easy assignment
Have you ever dreamed of working as a local reporter or editor in Rome, Florence, Venice or even Naples? Before you pack your bags and head off to one of these great cities, you may want to think twice. Make that three times.
This year is going to be different. You and I probably repeat this phrase over and over at the beginning of each new year. But for us as journalists, 2009 can be a time when we bring about enormous changes all over the world.
The headlines from media groups around the world tell the grim story of what is going on in Tunisia these days: “Tunisia seizes weekly, summons editor to court,” “Independent news site destroyed,” “Recently freed journalist is abducted, threatened,” “Internet writer freed from prison,” “Tunisia denies passport to formerly imprisoned journalist” and “Threats against journalist’s family, then wife’s car vandalized.”
The news coming out of the Kingdom of Cambodia these days is not good at all, especially for the press. Despite increased solidarity among national media organizations, as well as individual pleas for freedom from government oppression, the situation for journalists continues to grow worse.
August 1st, 2008 • Quill Archives
Global: Here or there, media training is everywhere
We pretty much know what to expect when it comes to journalism courses and programs in the United States. But what about training and education overseas ? You might be surprised to learn that there is more available than you think.