Journalism safety: A year in review

Barely one year ago we were in Bangkok for WAN-IFRA’s 65th Newspaper Congress, which included some lively discussions on the threats to press freedom and the need for journalist security around the world, writes Javier Garza Ramos.

Journalists targeted as unrest in eastern Ukraine intensifies

As Ukrainians headed to the polls on 25 May in snap elections that were commended by international observers for largely upholding democratic commitments, turmoil in eastern Ukraine saw an increase in violence against journalists. A day before the elections, Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov were killed while covering the fighting in Slavyansk, while on 25 May, separatists took two journalists hostage – Viacheslav Bondarenko and Maksym Osovsky – as they covered the elections in Luhansk region. The pair was released several days later.

Ethiopia tightens its grip on media ahead of 2015 elections

“The current regime follows this pattern: immediately before elections, they start to muzzle every critical voice,” protests Endalk Chala, a co-founder and member of the Ethiopian blogging collective called “Zone 9” – a proverbial reference to Ethiopia’s situation beyond the eight zones that divide the notorious Kaliti prison, where many journalists and political prisoners are kept behind bars.

“Prospects are grim” for press freedom in Thailand

The military junta is tightening its grip on the nation’s press following last week’s military coup in Thailand. After martial law was declared and soldiers stormed several TV stations, orders effectively stifling any free expression have been followed by the arrest or summoning of hundreds of politicians, activists and journalists.

Another journalist killed as violence grips the Philippines

The killing of a radio broadcaster in the Philippines has dealt another blow to wavering press freedom in the country. Samuel Oliverio was attacked on 23 May while driving his motorcycle with his wife in Digos city in the south of the country.

Staying ahead of the pack: Martin Belam on digital innovation at Trinity Mirror

What does data journalism look like at a tabloid newspaper? Martin Belam, editor of at Trinity Mirror’s new offerings Ampp3d and Mirror Row Zed, is experimenting with the model. The Trinity Mirror group is Britain’s biggest newspaper company, publishing two national tabloid titles and 240 regional newspapers.

Journalists released, but Turkey’s press freedom remains fragile

In the wake of intense global pressure, the Turkish government has released several of its imprisoned journalists in recent weeks. Among those freed is Füsun Erdoğan, arrested in 2006 and condemned to a life sentence + 300 years. Erdoğan was featured in WAN-IFRA’s “30 Days for Freedom” campaign, and her son spoke to WAN-IFRA’s Alexandra Waldhorn after his mother’s release.

Azerbaijan leading by example as more journalists are jailed

As Azerbaijan took up its chairmanship of the Council on Europe on Wednesday, WAN-IFRA raised concerns that this prominent position would be seen as tacit approval of the country’s appalling human rights and press freedom record. Following publication, Council of Europe spokesman Daniel Höltgen spoke to Douglas Grant to explain the organisation’s position.

Turkish Journalist Füsun Erdoğan Released from 300 Year Jail Sentence

Sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 300 years, Fusun Erdogan went from a hard-working radio journalist in Istanbul to being confined to a prison cell. For two years after her arrest by plainclothes police in September 2006, Erdogan, who holds Dutch and Turkish citizenship, didn’t even know her crime. Overall, her trial lasted more than eight years.

De Benedetti: Why I, Like Mr. Döpfner, Fear Google

Italian media mogul Carlo De Benedetti responds to Mathias Döpfner’s recent concerns about Google, and expresses his fear and admiration for the search-engine giant. He suggests five points which could form an industrial strategy against “global operators.” Benedetti will be speaking at the World Newspaper Congress in Torino, Italy on Wednesday, 11 June.