The United Nations ironically censored an event marking World 'Press Freedom' Day.
A U.N. panel discussion on international media freedom and fake news was suddenly postponed because one of the presenters was going to mention by name countries that jail journalists.
Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists commented:
So we have a discussion in the U.N. about battling censorship, being censored, that's quite ironic, he said. I would call on us all here present to resist the politicization -- the increasing politicization of U.N. agencies whose mission is to
defend press freedom.
Alan Miller, founder of the News Literacy Project said in a statement that the panel was postponed after his organization refused a request from the UN's Alliance of Civilizations group to remove references from a video it wanted to present to
several countries that restrict press freedom including Turkey, Mexico, Egypt, Russia and Pakistan. Miller said:
I could not permit this censorship of our presentation due to the stated concern that it would offend one or more countries engaged in repression and violence against journalists, adding that the video has since been posted
on the project's website.
Nihal Saad, from Egypt, spokesperson for the Alliance of Civilizations, spouted:
The alliance asked the group to either make a comprehensive presentation of all countries where press freedom is limited, or to remove reference to specific countries that had been singled out in their report, to ensure objectivity and a more
Reporters Without Borders has published its annual review of Worldwide press freedom.
The Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety
of journalists in each country. It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country's ranking. Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country.
The top 5 countries are Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland. The bottom 5 in descending order are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea.
Reporters Without Borders offer a note about the UK's disgraceful 40th position in the rankings:
A worrying trend
A continued heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security) has resulted in the UK keeping its status as one of the worst-ranked Western European countries in the World Press Freedom Index. The government began to
implement the Investigatory Powers Act -- the most extreme surveillance legislation in UK history -- with insufficient protection mechanisms for whistleblowers, journalists, and their sources. Home Secretary Amber Rudd repeatedly threatened to
restrict encryption tools such as WhatsApp and announced plans to criminalize the repeated viewing of extremist content. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 remained on the books, presenting cause for concern since the law's punitive
cost-shifting provision could hold publishers liable for the costs of all claims made against them, regardless of merit.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties restricted journalists' access to campaign events ahead of the June 2017 general election, and BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg received extensive online abuse and threats, resulting in her being
assigned bodyguards to cover the Labour Party conference.
Offshore law firm Appleby sued the BBC and The Guardian for breach of confidence over the Paradise Papers source materials, making them the only two media outlets out of 96 in 67 countries to have analyzed the Paradise Papers and taken to court.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to create a database that would monitor news outlets, journalists and
media influencers around the world, it has been reported.
DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, television, and radio, according to a request for information. It will also look at trade and industry publications, local, national and
international outlets, and social media, according to documents.
The plans also encompass media coverage being tracked in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.
The DHS Media Monitoring plan would allow for 24/7 access to media influencer database, including journalist, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc to identify any and all media coverage of a particular event.
In a first-of-its-kind report assessing the global state of artistic freedom, Freemuse warns of the emergence of a new global culture of silencing others, where artistic expression is being shut down in every corner of the globe, including in the
traditionally democratic West.
In 2017, 48 artists were serving combined sentences of more than 188 years in prison. Spain imprisoned 13 rappers -- more musicians than any other country. On average, one artist per week in 2017 was prosecuted for expressing themselves. Egypt,
Russia and Israel accounted for one-third of violations against LGBT artists and audiences. Seventy per cent of violations against women artists and audiences were on the grounds of indecency, a rationale used in 15 countries across Europe, North
America, Asia and Africa. And artists from minority groups suffered violations of their artistic freedom in a near 50/50 split between countries in the global North and South.
The nationalist politics in the US and Europe has created a new legitimacy to dismiss perspectives and artistic expression of 'others'. Together with traditional repressive regimes, the new global culture of silencing others has taken freedom of
artistic expression to a new low, Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said. Our research and analysis show that those in power anywhere share a will to silence those with whom they disagree, dislike, fear or simply see as different.
The consequences of these violations against art and artists are incalculable. Artists challenge authorities by their creativity and by their power to convey sharp observations and ideas that many people share. When authorities silence artists, it
affects a wide group of readers, listeners and audiences, Anna Livion Ingvarsson, Secretary General of Swedish PEN, said.
The State of Artistic Freedom 2018 report documents and examines 553 cases of artistic freedom violations in 78 countries, exploring the rationales and mechanisms in place that allow for these violations to take place.
Through this comprehensive analysis we have identified 18 countries, including China, Cuba, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the US, that have exhibited alarming developments in how they treat artists and their freedom of
artistic expression, and are ones to keep a watch on throughout 2018.
Freedom House has published its annual survey of freedom around the word. Its key findings are somewhat grim:
Democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic tenets--including guarantees of free and fair elections, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law--came under attack
around the world.
Seventy-one countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties, with only 35 registering gains. This marked the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.
The United States retreated from its traditional role as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy amid an accelerating decline in American political rights and civil liberties.
Over the period since the 12-year global slide began in 2006, 113 countries have seen a net decline, and only 62 have experienced a net improvement.