“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” —Article 19 , Universal Deceleration of Human Rights
Reporters Without Borders is an organization which fights to protect press freedom, worldwide, since 1985. In its 25th year, the organization still remains high in relevance and activity.
Founded in Montpellier, France, RWB is a member or the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. It is a virtual network of non-governmental organizations that monitors free expression violations worldwide and campaigns to defend journalists, writers, and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
According to RWB Press Freedom Barometer, since January 1st, 2010, worldwide: 35 journalists have been killed, 158 journalists imprisoned, and 112 ‘netizens’ imprisoned because of their activities as journalists. The problem is not lost here at home. Currently the United States ranks 20th on the Press Freedom Index, clearly proving there is progress yet to be made both nationally, and internationally.
What is RWB doing to protect and increase press freedom?
- Defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries.
- Fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom.
- Gives financial aid to journalists, or media outlets in difficulty, as well as the families of imprisoned journalists.
- Works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.
Since 2001, RWB annually releases a list of the world’s worst violators of press freedom. The aim of these lists is to turn the spotlight on the presidents, ministers, generals, and militia leaders who systematically target journalists. Coinciding with the release of this list, RWB also launched a “Predators of the Press” campaign.
As future journalists, we must be aware of the progress still yet to be made in terms of press freedom. As the campaign demonstrates, only people with something to hide have something to lose. RWB is doing their part to improve press freedom and can be a beneficial tool and ally in the many years to come.
“Don’t wait to be deprived of news to stand up and fight for it!”
Feedback welcome!—Were you aware of ‘Reporters without borders’? What did you find interesting? Did anything surprise you?