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It is encouraging to see that Mexican President Felipe Calderón has signed a new law to protect journalists. It’s the second major step the Mexican government has taken in recent weeks to address the appalling violence against journalists in Mexico, and it is part of a package of reforms that PEN pressed in meetings with government officials in Mexico City in January.

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Photo by archer10 on a Creative Commons License

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Check out this video of PEN’s January delegation to Mexico, in which over 50 Mexican and international writers spoke out against the killing of journalists.

27 January 2012. PEN International today published a full-page ad in El Universal signed by 170 of the world’s leading writers declaring solidarity with Mexican writers and journalists. This is part of the PEN Protesta! international PEN delegation to Mexico which comprises events and high-level lobbying of the Mexican authorities.

(Source: google.com)

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Sobering info-graphic on the human cost of the Mexican Drug War- fueled in large part by US demand for cocaine- which has yielded, since December 2006, an estimated 60,000 deaths.

Over 1,000 of those killed have been children.

“Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”

On May 3, the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day — a day to stand up for freedom of expression and the safety of journalists across print, broadcast and online media.
It is in this spirit that UNESCO has chosen to celebrate the event with the global theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”. The main event will be jointly organized by UNESCO, the Government of Costa Rica and the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in the city of San José, Costa Rica from 2 to 4 May 2013.
This year, World Press Freedom Day focuses on ensuring the physical and psychological safety of journalists on all media platforms, addressing the high impunity level of crimes against press freedom. It also puts attention on freedom of expression on the Internet as a precondition for digital safety of journalists. This is a pressing issue for press freedom as more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last ten years while reporting news to the general public. In other words, on average every week a journalist dies while doing his or her job. In 2012 alone, UNESCO’s Director-General condemned the killings of 121 journalists, almost double the annual figures of 2011 and 2010.
Over the past 10 years, only one in ten cases of crimes against journalists, media workers, and social media producers has led to a conviction. This level of impunity goes against the duty of states to protect their citizens. It feeds a vicious cycle where those who use violence against journalists are emboldened when they see that there is little risk of punishment. It sends a signal to the public to keep quiet about corruption, environmental damage or human rights violations, resulting in self-censorship and an erosion of public faith in the judicial system.

“Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”

On May 3, the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day — a day to stand up for freedom of expression and the safety of journalists across print, broadcast and online media.

It is in this spirit that UNESCO has chosen to celebrate the event with the global theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”. The main event will be jointly organized by UNESCO, the Government of Costa Rica and the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in the city of San José, Costa Rica from 2 to 4 May 2013.

This year, World Press Freedom Day focuses on ensuring the physical and psychological safety of journalists on all media platforms, addressing the high impunity level of crimes against press freedom. It also puts attention on freedom of expression on the Internet as a precondition for digital safety of journalists. This is a pressing issue for press freedom as more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last ten years while reporting news to the general public. In other words, on average every week a journalist dies while doing his or her job. In 2012 alone, UNESCO’s Director-General condemned the killings of 121 journalists, almost double the annual figures of 2011 and 2010.

Over the past 10 years, only one in ten cases of crimes against journalists, media workers, and social media producers has led to a conviction. This level of impunity goes against the duty of states to protect their citizens. It feeds a vicious cycle where those who use violence against journalists are emboldened when they see that there is little risk of punishment. It sends a signal to the public to keep quiet about corruption, environmental damage or human rights violations, resulting in self-censorship and an erosion of public faith in the judicial system.

(Source: unesco.org)

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Egyptian Journalists Protest Attacks on Freedom of Expression
Dozens of journalists protested on Wednesday at the Press Syndicate, in solidarity with the journalists who were attacked at the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) headquarters in Moqattam during clashes between protesters and MB members on Saturday.

High-profile media and political figures were seen at the protest, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, TV host Rim Maguid, prominent journalist Yehia Qallash, and Head of Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan.

During the protest, named ‘Your Terrorism Won’t Stop Us’, the protesting journalists called for protecting their fellow journalists from being attacked by protesters, Muslim Brotherhood members, or security forces while they cover events. They accused the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to silence journalists who expose their corruption, according to several journalists who attended the protest.

Egyptian Journalists Protest Attacks on Freedom of Expression

Dozens of journalists protested on Wednesday at the Press Syndicate, in solidarity with the journalists who were attacked at the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) headquarters in Moqattam during clashes between protesters and MB members on Saturday.

High-profile media and political figures were seen at the protest, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, TV host Rim Maguid, prominent journalist Yehia Qallash, and Head of Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan.

During the protest, named ‘Your Terrorism Won’t Stop Us’, the protesting journalists called for protecting their fellow journalists from being attacked by protesters, Muslim Brotherhood members, or security forces while they cover events. They accused the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to silence journalists who expose their corruption, according to several journalists who attended the protest.

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Journalists Petition for Greater Freedom of Press in Ecuador

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500,000 Refugees, Countless Stories: Welcome to Dadaab

When the idea for a documentary project about the world’s largest refugee camp came about, in early 2011, Dadaab, Kenya was a place that few had heard of. A haven for those fleeing armed conflict, disaster, or persecution, on the border with Somalia, Dadaab was already home to the world’s largest refugee camp — a dubious honor it held by a wide margin. And yet to most, Dadaab simply drew a blank.

All that changed in early 2011, when the looming famine in the Horn of Africa sent refugees flooding into the camp. Soon after, as famine was formally declared in Somalia, international journalists followed. For the first time in years, Dadaab was suddenly in the news: an international symbol for a humanitarian crisis. There were 500,000 refugees in a camp that was built for 90,000.

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The Turkish parliament on Thursday approved changes to anti-terrorism laws in a bid to reduce the number of prosecutions for the non-violent expression of opinions, but critics say the revisions don’t go far enough.

Turkey has prosecuted hundreds of politicians, activists and journalists under its broadly worded anti-terrorism laws, some for simply expressing opinions or taking part in protests. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has described the country as the “world’s biggest prison for journalists.” Long pre-trial detention periods and the often slow pace of the proceedings have increased concerns about human rights in the country.

“This package does nothing to solve any of our problems,” opposition legislator Bulent Tezcan said. “We are faced with a government that treats anyone who wants to express an opinion as terrorists.”

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‘Hear me roar’: Women journalists claim their voice in the Great Lakes
On March 8th, Search launched its “Media: A Voice for All” initiative in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project will extend to the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo in the near future.
The program has two objectives:
1. Increase the number of female journalists in the Great Lakes region of Africa
2. Improve gender-sensitivity in media coverage, especially on women’s issues
To reach these goals, Search is partnering with local women’s media associations in each country. The program will provide training sessions, capacity building instruction, innovation grants, sensitization activities, and networking development.

‘Hear me roar’: Women journalists claim their voice in the Great Lakes

On March 8th, Search launched its “Media: A Voice for All” initiative in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project will extend to the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo in the near future.

The program has two objectives:

1. Increase the number of female journalists in the Great Lakes region of Africa

2. Improve gender-sensitivity in media coverage, especially on women’s issues

To reach these goals, Search is partnering with local women’s media associations in each country. The program will provide training sessions, capacity building instruction, innovation grants, sensitization activities, and networking development.

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Rise of the ‘narcobloggers’

In a country where reporting the drug war can mean death, Mexico’s bloggers refuse to be silenced.

Tens of thousands have been killed as Mexico continues to be swept up in a drug war that has left the country plagued by violence, corruption and tragedy. Facing constant death threats from cartels, many journalists have been forced to remain silent. But one clandestine blogger refuses to succumb to the pressure, using her site to document the raw realities on the ground.