As Press Freedom Declines, Journalists Suffer

By Charlotte Cuthbertson for The Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Israel’s press freedom is in free fall and journalists are being murdered in Russia and Mexico, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). RSF released its World Press Freedom Index Tuesday and there was a general downward trend in the 175 countries surveyed.

European countries took the top 13 spots, yet there is a troubling decline overall, according to Clothilde Le Coz, Reporters Without Borders’ Washington director.

“Not only because of the physical assaults journalist are victim of, but because these countries are adapting and passing laws that are dangerous for freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” she said at the Overseas Press Club in New York. Five media organizations covered the event.

“The Internet is really a big issue in those [European] countries—the laws they are adopting in terms of Internet freedom are restrictive for freedom of speech in general.”

Read the full article about press freedom at The Epoch Times here

Award Winning Journalist at Forefront of Press Freedom Struggle in Afghanistan

by Genevieve Long for The Foreign Policy Association

Press freedom in war-torn Afghanistan is regressing to a Taliban-era level of restrictions, according to a recent report. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based press advocacy organization, visited Afghanistan in January to survey the current situation. Their report is entitled, “We have free speech, but we’re not safe and don’t act responsibly.”

“Because of the deterioration of the situation, some of them feel that they are back to a sort of Taliban situation,” said Vincent Brossel, Asia Director for RSF. Brossel spent a little over a week traveling throughout Afghanistan and interviewing local journalists. Brossel found that the situation is grim, and threats against working journalists are common. RSF also found that the Afghan Interior Ministry has been largely ineffective and even inactive in providing help and support.

“In fact, they [the Interior Ministry] don’t take action and their investigations rarely go to the end,” said Brossel, who points to the case of slain journalist Zakia Zaki. According to Brossel, she was killed by warlords and her murder was never “seriously” investigated. “Even the Interior Ministry once put pressure on her husband because he was asking for justice.”

Farida Nekzad, a veteran journalist of ten years who lives and works in Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, says the greatest danger that journalists face comes from the dual threat of warlords and the Taliban.