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Forbidden Stories

Covering the environment is a surprisingly dangerous beat for journalists around the world. Over the last decade, as many as 29 reporters have been killed for their work on environmental stories.

 On this edition of Global Journalist, the story of an Indian journalist burned to death for reporting on illegal mining and a Guatemalan journalist forced into hiding for covering pollution protests.  Plus: how a group of international investigators are trying to follow environmental stories too dangerous for the local press to report. 


Travis McMillen

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at how the news gets reported in some very different parts of the world.

We’ll talk to a journalist from Ghana about how politicians are undermining the credibility of the news media in the West African democracy.

In addition, as tensions between India and Pakistan are again spiking, we'll meet a Muslim journalist who describes the challenges of working in a country where Hindu nationalist sentiment continues to rise.

Finally, we'll speak to a journalist for a Hong Kong-based news organization about the challenges of reporting from Beijing.


Courtesy

On this special edition of Global Journalist, an extended interview with award-winning foreign correspondent and author Peter Hessler.

In 1996, the U.S. Peace Corps sent the Columbia, Mo. native to a city in central China to teach English at a teacher's college. During that period, few Westerners had spent much time in the city, and Hessler's experiences became fodder for his widely acclaimed 2001 memoir, "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze."

Hessler later returned to China and spent seven years as a correspondent for the New Yorker, becoming one of the most well-known foreign journalists in the country. Hessler went on to publish three other books, win a MacArthur "genius" grant, and eventually moved his family to Egypt to continue reporting for the New Yorker.


AP Photo

  Everybody with a cell phone is a publisher these days. Maybe it's time we learn to be reporters.

The downside of the internet is that it has given propagandists and peddlers of disinformation easy access to a worldwide audience. No country is immune from the problem.

On this edition of Global Journalist hosted by Kathy Kiely, a look at efforts at efforts to fight disinformation, counter Russian propaganda and learn how some organizations are working to increase news literacy around the world. 

 


Photo: FilmMoment/Jesse van Venrooij

In the first of a two-part series on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, Global Journalist examines the issue in the Netherlands – the first country to legalize euthanasia.

Over the past decade the number of Dutch choosing to have a doctor end their lives voluntarily has climbed to nearly 7,000 per year, or about 4 percent of all deaths in the country. This includes physically-healthy people with dementia and psychological disorders that haven’t responded to treatment.  As the numbers have grown, so too has criticism of the process by which it’s carried out.


AP Photo

The Soviet Union's nuclear program was once one of the largest in the world. But from Chernobyl to the empire's former atomic bomb site in Kazakhstan, the legacy of that effort still affects tens of thousands of people in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine.

On this edition of Global Journalist, we learn about the Semipalatinsk test site in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, where more than 400 nuclear weapons were tested and where local people now graze their animals near thermonuclear bomb craters.

We also examine the lasting impacts on Ukraine and neighboring Belarus of the 1986 meltdown of Chernobyl's reactor No. 4.


AP Photo

Thousands of children have been used as soldiers in at least 18 countries around the world in the past two years.

For the children who survive, the trauma of war can have long-lasting impacts.

On this edition of Global Journalist, we’re going to hear about how two aid groups are trying to address this issue in South Sudan and Uganda. We'll also hear from two ex-child soldiers about how the trauma of fighting in wars shaped their lives.

This program first aired Nov. 29, 2018.

AP Photo

When Sudan's dictator of 30 years was ousted in April following months of protests, many were hopeful that the African nation might transition towards democracy.

Yet less than three months after Omar al-Bashir's arrest, the country's military turned its guns on the protesters and a general linked to the genocide in Darfur is ascendant.

On this edition of Global Journalist, we look at the political crisis in Sudan and the prospects for a transition to civilian government.


AP Photo

Local newspapers have been eviscerated over the last 15 years as social media and the internet have destroyed their business model. Yet all is not doom and gloom.

In the third part of our series on the global crisis in local news with the Index on Censorship, a look at new business models to support local journalism as well as how robot reporters might yet save their human counterparts.

We'll also get a look at efforts to keep "deep fake" videos from going viral on the internet and further distorting our public conversation.


AP Photo

Local and regional newspapers have dwindled all across the U.S. as print advertising revenues have shrunk.

But the U.S. isn't alone - there is a local news crisis all around the globe. In the second part of our series on the decline in local news with our partners at the Index on Censorship, a look at the problem in India, Poland and Argentina.

In these countries, traditional local news outlets face a host of problems: from populist governments to WhatsApp groups.


AP Photo

All around the world, the local news organizations that report on municipal and regional governments are in decline. 

In the first installment of a special series with the Index on Censorship magazine, a look at news deserts in the U.S., silent zones in Mexico and a poll measuring the confidence of British journalists in their ability to hold the powerful to account. We'll also get a closer view at what the disappearance of local journalists means for democracy and accountability in government.


The success of CNN spawned many 24-hour news networks - many started by governments hoping to shape global public opinion to their advantage.

That group includes China's state-owned English-language CGTN, which broadcasts to 30 million homes in the U.S.

As you might expect from a news channel owned by China’s government - it’s not the place to turn if you want news about top Communist officials enriching themselves or reporting on China’s widespread violations of human rights.

On this special edition of Global Journalist, an extended look at the challenges and opportunities for CGTN as it tries to grow its U.S. audience. Joining the program is Mike Walter, a top news anchor at the channel and host of CGTN's "Full Frame."


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Having a child renewed filmmaker Nanfu Wang's interest in China's one-child policy. In effect from 1979 to 2016, the restrictions on family size halted China's explosive population growth but have left the country with a rapidly aging population. 

From forced sterilizations and abortions to fines and propaganda campaigns, Wang examines how the policy was enforced in her new documentary, "One-Child Nation." The film won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and recently screened at the True/False Film Festival in Missouri. 

On this special edition of Global Journalist, an in depth discussion between Wang and guest host Joshua Kranzberg about the film and the human legacy of a population control measure unmatched in history.


AP Photo

Japan and South Korea face stark demographic change. Longer life spans and low birth rates in both countries have led to rapidly aging populations.

At 126 million, Japan's population is already declining and is forecast to shrink below 100 million in 30 years.

South Korea's will begin shrinking in the next decade, but is expected to decline even faster.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the challenges for both countries as they face a future with a shrinking workforce trying to support a rapidly expanding elderly population - and what lessons they hold for the U.S. and other countries.


AP Photo

It’s sometimes called “brown envelope” journalism. This is the practice of journalists taking money or gifts from companies, politicians, or even international charities to give them favorable coverage.

Payola has long been a problem in journalism in countries all around the world. Today it’s particularly a problem in developing nations, where journalists are sometimes paid just a few dollars a day with the understanding that they can supplement their income by taking money from those they write about.

But payola isn’t unique to the developing world. It remains an issue for journalists in the U.S. and other wealthy democratic nations - especially those who do business journalism or work that involves reviewing products and services.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at how the payola system operates both for journalists in Africa and those in U.S. business news.


European Pressphoto Agency

Africa is home to the 10 fastest growing cities in the world. Over the next 25 years, the World Bank projects that the continent's urban population will double to 1 billion. 

Yet along with gleaming skyscrapers and shopping malls, African cities are feeling growing pains. More than half of the 4 million people in the Kenyan capital Nairobi live in slums, often without access to running water, electricity or sewage systems. Traffic in Nairobi and other booming cities has become nightmarish. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the huge planning and infrastructure challenges for African cities as they undergo one of the most rapid periods of urbanization in world history. Will tomorrow's African megacities be economic powerhouses or giant slums?


Dan Clark-USFWS/via AP

By now, you've probably heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a giant accumulation of trash in the Pacific Ocean that’s about twice the size of Texas.

According to a study published in the journal Nature last year, most all this oceanic garbage is plastic - about 1.6 trillion pieces of it. But the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t unique. It's just one of five major garbage patches in the world’s oceans. And these garbage patches are just a fraction of the plastic that’s been dumped in our seas over the past several decades.

The spread of plastic across the world's oceans is taking a grim toll on marine life. Unfortunately the problem is only getting worse, with an estimated 8 million tons of plastic added to the oceans each year.

On this addition of Global Journalist, a look at the problem of marine plastic pollution and what might be done to halt it.


AP Photo

Chinese workers have built bridges in Serbia, a huge railroad tunnel in Uzbekistan and a gas and oil pipeline across Myanmar. These are just a few of the dozens of massive foreign infrastructure projects China has financed across the world as part of President Xi Jinping's 'Belt and Road Initiative.'

In the six years since President Xi first floated the project, at least 124 countries have signed on to what is one of the largest international construction projects in history. Over the next decade, investment bank Morgan Stanley forecasts China will have plowed more than $1 trillion into the project.

But in spite of some notable successes, the project continues to be met with skepticism in the U.S. and other countries over concerns that China's deals with developing countries are not transparent and can land heavily-indebted governments in a 'debt trap.'

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at China's Belt and Road Initiative as dozens of foreign leaders prepare to travel to Beijing for a summit on the project.


AP Photo

Cuba has long been one of the world’s least connected countries. Cubans weren’t allowed to buy personal computers until about a decade ago, and didn’t have access to the Internet until 2013.

But things are slowly changing in the Communist country. In December, the state telecom company launched the country’s first mobile internet network. At the end of March, the country’s government signed a deal with Google that could significantly boost speeds on the country’s painfully slow network. President Miguel Diaz-Canel even opened a Twitter account.

Still, Cubans face big challenges in accessing information about the outside world.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Cuba’s slow march in to the digital age and what it means for the government’s efforts to control access to news and information – as well as the independent journalists who try to provide it.


European Pressphoto Agency

At this year’s Academy Awards a film called “Period. End of Sentence” won the Oscar for best short documentary. The movie focused on the subject of menstruation taboos in India and the story of a group of poor women who banded together to manufacture inexpensive menstrual pads.

The success of the film gave new visibility to what’s often referred to as “period poverty.”

On this edition of Global Journalist: a discussion about period poverty and some of the ways that stigma about the issue affects women from India to Kenya to the United States.


After being threatened by the Taliban, filmmaker Hassan Fazili was forced to flee Afghanistan. Like thousands of others, he and his family set out for Europe seeking safety and a stable life.

What follows is a two-year odyssey that Fazili, wife Fatima Hussaini, and their two daughters carefully documented on video with their phones. From negotiating with people smugglers to hiding in abandoned buildings and being beaten by Bulgarian nationalists, the new documentary "Midnight Traveler" highlights the cruelty and capriciousness of the European Union's asylum system – and a family's strength to persevere.

On this special edition of Global Journalist, a look at this remarkable new film and an extended interview with producer and writer Emelie Mahdavian.


AP

Australia's continued detention of about 1,000 refugees and asylum-seekers on two remote Pacific islands has garnered international criticism as details emerge of alarming rates of attempted suicide and poor medical care.

Yet many Australians see the island detention centers as a necessary deterrent to keep the country from being overrun by a tide of migrant boats from Indonesia.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the conditions for the hundreds of migrants who have spent years in Australian detention on Nauru and Manus and the debate about their fate in Australia.


European Pressphoto Agency

Later this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in its 71-year existence. To reach that mark, both he and his right-wing Likud party will need a strong showing in elections April 9.

Polls show that Netanyahu, who was prime minister for three years in the 1990s and has held the office since 2009, is locked in a close race with former general Benny Gantz and the opposition Blue and White alliance. 

But Netanyahu isn’t just fighting for his political life, he’s also fighting for his freedom. That’s because Israel’s attorney general has said he plans to indict Netanyahu on criminal charges stemming from three separate corruption investigations after the election. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, an in-depth look at the political legacy one of Israel’s most influential and polarizing leaders, and his prospects in a tight campaign.  


AP Photo

On this edition of Global Journalist, the second in our two-part series on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. For this installment, our focus shifts to North America, where Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2016 after a contentious debate.

Meanwhile in the U.S., a number of state legislatures are considering joining the District of Columbia and seven other states that have legalized the practice.

Former NPR talk show host Diane Rehm, New York Times' reporter Catherine Porter and Catholic bioethicist Moira McQueen weigh-in on the debate.


(Photo: FilmMoment/Jesse van Venrooij)

In the first of a two-part series on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, Global Journalist examines the issue in the Netherlands – the first country to legalize euthanasia.

Over the past decade the number of Dutch choosing to have a doctor end their lives voluntarily has climbed to nearly 7,000 per year, or about 4 percent of all deaths in the country.

This includes physically healthy people with dementia and psychological disorders that haven’t responded to treatment. Though euthanasia retains broad public support in the country, as the range of people eligible has expanded, so too has criticism of the process in which it’s carried out.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the Dutch experience and what lessons it holds for other countries grappling with physician-assisted suicide.


There are now nearly twice as many Christians in the Global South as there are in Europe and North America. As Christianity's center of gravity has shifted - so too is the flow of missionaries.

Thousands of Christians from places like Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea - where Christianity was first brought by European and North American missionaries - are now traveling to Europe and North America seeking to convert the natives.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a discussion about the growing phenomenon of "reverse missionaries."


European Pressphoto Agency

He's called black activists "animals," said he'd rather that his son die than bring home a male lover and told one political opponent he would never rape her because she was "too ugly."

Jair Bolsonaro is also Brazil's new president after capitalizing on fatigue with corruption and crime to ride a populist wave in last year's election. Vowing to eliminate socialism and political correctness, Bolsonaro has often drawn comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Brazil's polarizing new leader and the currents that swept him to power in Latin America's largest country.


AP Photo

The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October generated days of international headlines. Unfortunately, when journalists are killed for their work their deaths rarely attract such attention.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the targeted killings of two investigative journalists in European democracies.  At the time of their deaths, Slovakia's Ján Kuciak and Malta's Daphne Caruana Galizia were probing government corruption and the influence of Italian organized crime families in their respective countries. In both cases, justice has been slow in coming.

Yet if the intention of those who killed Kuciak and Galizia was to halt their reporting, that effort failed. In both cases, journalists from a number of media outlets organized to continue the work of their slain colleagues.


AP Photo

More people joined the Islamic State from former Soviet republics than from any other region outside the Middle East.

On this special edition of Global Journalist, a look at what drew so many fighters from Central Asia to fight with the terror group in Syria – and what may become of them and their families as those who survived try to return.

Joining the program is Noah Tucker, a senior editor at Radio Free Asia/Radio Liberty, who lead a months-long research and reporting project on the issue in hotspots of ISIS recruitment in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


On this week's show, a look at the life of a pioneering female journalist. Fortuna Calvo-Roth was born in 1934 to a Jewish family in Paris, but was raised in Lima, Peru. There she fell in love with the news business during World War II - and came to admire American newspapers like the New York Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

So she left Peru and came to the Missouri School of Journalism in the 1950s, where she managed to graduate with honors at just age 19. Despite facing discrimination, she went on to a distinguished career as a correspondent for a number of major Latin American newspapers and later as news executive for the Brazilian publishing group Vision Inc.

Yet journalism was just one chapter of her career - she went on to enjoy success as a theatrical producer, a publisher and as the co-founder of an audiobook label.


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