Today, 3rd May, is World Press Freedom Day. It is a day for remembering the key role played by journalists and investigators in our democracies, and for speaking up to defend those that are unjustly prosecuted for holding power to account. It is a day for celebrating freedom of speech, and for acting to protect those who are struggling, every day, to expose the truth.
It is a day on which, instead of highlighting the sorry state of affairs when it comes to media freedom, the protection of journalists and the right to freedom of expression, we have decided to focus on something more positive. We don’t want to spend the whole day lamenting about the dire situation in Turkey, the dramatic roll-backs in Hungary or Poland and the fact that, for the 11th consecutive year, freedoms in the world are progressively diminishing, according to Freedom House.
Instead, we want to use this day to highlight some of the organisations, campaigns and media outlets that are fighting, every day, to protect journalists. We want to encourage you, today, to join up to one of these campaigns, and to do whatever you can to protect those that seek to hold power to account and to expose the truth.
Watch our World Press Freedom Day Video Here!
Join these campaigns!!!
- Reporters Without Borders: This NGO has worked for years on the issue of press freedom. They do annual rankings of the state of affairs when it comes to Press Freedom and are engaged in a bunch of campaigns - join them or donate now!
- Freedom House: This organisation does annual rankings of the state of freedom in the world, including political freedoms, civil liberties and freedom of expression and association, etc. They have a great mailing list which you can sign up to, and you can join to support their campaigns.
- Global Justice Now! This NGO has recently started a campaign to prevent companies like Marks & Spencers from funding media outlets that spread hateful content. While controversial, it shows that we, as consumers, have the ability to affect which media outlets are profitable, and why.
Support and fund independent media!!
- You might want to think about becoming a paid subscriber to your favourite newspaper. This will help them to do more independent investigations, and can pay for more in-depth research. If we support our favourite journalists with funding, we can help them to become less dependent on advertising revenue, which will free them from the control of the companies or governments that are buying advertising space.
- In many countries across Europe there are new, independent media outlets that depend on your support for their existence. Find one and become a regular donor.
- Funding for independent media is growing: For example, there is a journalismfund.eu which is specialised in providing grants to groups of investigative journalists. In addition, the European Union has recently started a pilot project to fund investigative journalism projects that have an EU or cross-border dimension, after we put forward a specific proposal for that from the Greens/EFA group.
Reward responsible journalism!!
- We are happy to see that the Pulitzer Prize was recently awarded to the team of journalists at the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists, the ones who first published the Panama Papers, the Offshore leaks and the Bahamas Leaks. You can support ICIJ by donating!
- We have also nominated Can Dündar, a Turkish journalist, columnist and documentarian, for this year's Sakharov Prize. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 14 December. Previous Greens/EFA nominations include Raif Badawi (2015), Leyla Yunus (2014) and Edward Snowden (2013).
Raise awareness about the situations of journalists
- Organise an exhibition to raise awareness about the situation of journalists globally. We have a specific photo exhibition about journalists in Turkey that we set up yesterday in the European Parliament - contact us if you want to organise an exhibition too!
- Share on social media! Use the #WPFD2017 hashtag to spread the word about the importance of protecting media freedom; and share some campaigns that have inspired you!