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press freedom

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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.


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

On the surface, Ghana and Egypt couldn't be more different places when it comes free expression. Ghana ranks higher than the U.S. and U.K. by some measures of press freedom, while Egypt's government is now among the most repressive in the world. 

Yet Ghana's reputation for tolerance and press freedom has been challenged by the recent killing of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an investigative journalist who worked on a high-profile probe of corruption in professional soccer.

Meanwhile, in Egypt journalists are facing renewed persecution by a government that brands dissenters as terrorists and leads the world in prosecuting reporters and bloggers for "fake news." 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at challenges to press freedom in Ghana and Egypt. 


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.


EPA

Over the past two years, Tanzania's President John Magufuli has led what critics say is a broad assault on human rights, including freedom of expression.

His government has suspended the publication of newspapers that criticized him and attempted to silence critical bloggers and members of the opposition. It's even detained and interrogated researchers from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Also targeted: members of the East African nation's LGBT community, who have faced criminal prosecution and stepped-up intimidation.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Magufuli’s crackdown on civil liberties in Tanzania.


European Pressphoto

The young nation of Eritrea is often referred to as the North Korea of Africa.

The country has jailed thousands of political prisoners, eliminated the independent press and forces much of the population into indefinite military service. Border guards sometimes ‘shoot to kill’ Eritreans fleeing the country.

But since a July peace agreement, with longtime adversary Ethiopia,  Eritreans are waiting to see if new contacts with the outside world will open up a closed state.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Eritrea's moment of opportunity.

AP Photo

On this edition, part two of our look at press freedom and how journalists do their jobs in countries where just reporting the news can be a big challenge.

For this, we'll talk to a reporter working in Mexico - where cartel violence has made the U.S. neighbor the deadliest country in the world for journalists. We'll also talk to a reporter working in Macedonia, a country that once had an open climate for free expression but that has backslid dramatically over the past decade.

Both guests are visiting the U.S. on fellowships through the Alfred Friendly Press Partners.


Those who listened to NPR's coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign regularly heard the dispatches from political reporter Asma Khalid.

During the race, Khalid distinguished herself for her ability to blend voter interviews with the use of data to illustrate Americans shifting political views.

But as a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, the Indiana native was also tested by then-candidate Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric, and was mocked on Twitter as a "terrorist," "raghead," and "jihadi." On occasion, the reporting climate was so volatile Khalid says she felt the need to remove her head covering. 

On this special edition of Global Journalist, Khalid, now with Boston public radio station WBUR and a 2017 recipient of the Missouri School of Journalism's highest award, opens up about her experiences with guest host Joshua Kranzberg.


AP Photo

On this week's program, a look at two of the most difficult places for independent journalism: Cuba and Pakistan.

In Pakistan, journalists routinely face threats not only from the Taliban and other extremist groups but also from the government and intelligence agencies.

Meanwhile in Cuba, independent digital media is in its infancy after decades of Communist rule – and journalists face continuing uncertainty over when they may face arrest.


AP

For many Americans, the Islamic State was first burned in our minds as a threat back in August 2014.

That’s when the terror group released chilling video of American journalist James Foley being beheaded by a black clad man who condemns U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. Foley of course was much more than a victim of terror or a martyr for press freedom.

He was also a son, a brother, a colleague, and a friend.

On this edition of Global Journalist we’re going to talk more about the life of James Foley. We’ll also look at what his death tell us not only about him but about how news organizations operate and how the U.S. government handles hostage situations. 


AP

Under President Ilham Aliyev, the economy of Azerbaijan has expanded spectacularly. An oil boom has fueled a 10 fold increase in the size of its economy since he took power in 2003.

But under Aliyev, the country of 10 million has been one of the hardest and cruelest places in the world for journalists. According to Freedom House, Azerbaijan’s government has used spurious charges to jail journalists and human rights activists. Disseminating information that harms the “honor and dignity” of Aliyev is a criminal offense. 


Travis McMillen/RJI

    

Journalists in Turkey and South Africa both work in countries with lively and well-established media. But in both countries, long-running single-party rule has led to challenges for reporters.

On this special edition of Global Journalist, guest host Joshua Kranzberg talks about these issues and more with journalists from the two countries visiting the U.S. on fellowships from the Alfred Friendly Press Partners.  

Travis McMillen / RJI

At first glance, media in Pakistan and the Ukraine have little in common.

But in both the South Asian nation and the former Soviet republic, independent private news outlets are relatively new and face a host of challenges both from government restrictions and outside actors. They're also among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

On this special edition of Global Journalist, we interview journalists from prominent media outlets in each country who are visiting the U.S. on fellowships from the University of Missouri-based Alfred Friendly Press Partners.


AP

It’s said that truth is often the first casualty in war. And for media in the Palestinian territories–where conflict has been the norm for more than six decades– giving the public an accurate picture of the news is a huge challenge.

In Gaza, where Hamas rules, Palestinian journalists must toe the line or face consequences. In the West Bank, governed by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, reporters can face criminal charges for covering corruption or criticizing officials.

Meanwhile Israeli forces have become increasingly aggressive towards Palestinian journalists, sometimes placing them in indefinite "administrative detention" without trial.


AP

 

For much of its population, Somalia is a difficult and dangerous place to live.

It’s particularly true for reporters. Practicing journalism in a failed state means facing threats from any number of militia groups.

That includes Islamist radicals from al-Shabaab as well as from armed groups loyal to Somalia’s internationally-backed government in Mogadishu. At least 59 Somali journalists have been killed since 1992-the year after the fall of dictator Siad Barre threw the country into chaos.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the state of journalism in Somalia.


(Travis McMillen)

In a special edition of Global Journalist, al-Jazeera's Director General Mostefa Souag addresses controversies that have shadowed the award-winning, Qatar-based news network as it tries to grow its U.S. presence.

During an extended interview, Souag responds to questions about the network's independence from the Qatari government, perceptions of anti-Semitic and anti-American bias and its famous interviews with Osama bin Laden.


AP

  Turkish voters will go to the polls Nov. 1 amid a spasm of political violence and renewed conflict with Kurdish guerrillas. The vote also comes just weeks after the most deadly terrorist attack in Turkish history and as the army is struggling to keep the civil war in Syria from spilling over into Turkey.

Despite a government crackdown on independent media President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP party may struggle to win a parliamentary majority. On this week's edition of Global Journalist, we discuss Turkey's election and whether the country, once a democratic model in the Middle East, is sliding towards authoritarianism.

AP

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned in Iran since July 2014. On this edition of Global Journalist, we examine how Iran's internal politics and relations with the U.S. have led to the lengthy jailing of a correspondent for a major U.S. newspaper. 

Fernando Llano / AP

Venezuela is a country that should, by all accounts, be doing quite well. It’s one of the top oil-producing countries in the world.

But the South American nation also has one of the highest murder rates in the world, a government whose officials are accused of selling drugs, and millions living below the poverty line. Not only that, the country's economy is crumbling, and the government is notorious for clamping down on journalists who challenge it on these issues.

Bikas Das / AP

Journalists and bloggers in Bangladesh are finding themselves increasingly under fire. Last year, a group that calls itself “Defenders of Islam” published a “hit list” of more than 80 writers.

Then in the first six months of 2015, three of those named were hacked to death in separate knife attacks. The latest was in May, when four masked men attacked blogger Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes while he was heading to work.

Dolores Ochoa / AP

Many people know Ecuador as the home of calm and picturesque sights, from the Galapagos Islands and lush Amazonian rain forest to soaring Andean peaks.

thierry ehrmann / Flickr

  Journalists around the globe are decrying an Egyptian court's decision to imprison three Al Jazeera English journalists on charges of making false news reports and aiding terrorists. Missouri School of Journalism professors Jim Flink, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP Photo

After nearly 50 years of military rule, the country officially known as Myanmar has slowly emerged from its near-lifetime of isolation and repression. Since 2011, the country has opened up to the international community and instituted a number of political reforms, including the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2012 the government ended its policy of media censorship.

Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP Photo

After nearly 50 years of military rule, the country officially known as Myanmar has slowly emerged from its near-lifetime of isolation and repression. Since 2011, the country has opened up to the international community and instituted a number of political reforms, including the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2012 the government ended its policy of media censorship.

Nation Media Group flourishes in Kenya

Jul 18, 2013
Ben Curtis / Associated Press

Freedom of the press is rising steadily in Kenya. The constitution now specifically prohibits the state from interfering with the editorial independence of journalists and their media outlets, both state-owned and private.

Journalists on the front lines in Honduras

Apr 26, 2013
Fernando Antonio / AP Photo

Honduras has become akin to a war zone, since the 2009 coup that deposed the former president, Manuel Zelaya. The country of around 8 million people, bordered by Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Pacific Ocean, and Caribbean Sea, is among the most dangerous places on earth. 

Burhan Ozbilici / AP Images

Turkey portrays itself as the leading nation in an increasingly turbulent region of the world. The country that straddles Europe and the Middle East is a secular democracy with a thriving economy. It's also a member of NATO and a potential member of the European Union. 

When do security concerns trump free speech? When should whistleblowers be sent to jail, along with the journalists who report on their leaks?

Reporting in Cuba

Feb 2, 2012

Being an independent news reporter in Cuba is a dangerous occupation. The Committee to Protect Journalists points out that Cuba was once tied with China for holding the largest number of journalists behind bars. 

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