The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticised the United Nations for hosting its annual World Free Press Day in Qatar – a state where domestic media is suppressed, says the body.
It’s here, the International Federation of Journalists’ new ‘Ethical Journalism Initiative’ website:
‘a new campaign to rekindle old values in media worldwide launched by the International Federation of Journalists. The future of media is the hot topic everywhere, particularly as journalists and others wrestle with the rapid changes in the way journalism works’.
It has relevant news alerts, projects and seminars listed, campaigns, ‘key texts’ and ‘useful links’ sections.
In December 2008, Journalism.co.uk launched a new Dipity Timeline to track international media and we watched it attract a considerable amount of interest. The idea is to bring together international journalism news and comment, focusing on issues which affect journalists’ freedom of speech. We’ve played around with it a bit and re-launched the timeline (so please make sure you update your bookmarks).
- Twitter: now, as well as following the timeline, you can now follow @press_freedom on Twitter to get all the same updates you would find through the timeline.
- News updates: by following @press_freedom, you will be able to keep up with Journalism.co.uk news and blog items related to media freedom and ethics, as well as links through to the main stories from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Frontline Club Blog, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.
- Conversation: it would be great to get some conversation going too through Twitter and perhaps via the International Journalists group on Wired Journalists. We’re also experimenting with a Publish2 ‘International Journalists’ group – if you’re a user of Publish2, please do join and we’ll see where it takes us.
It would be interesting to see if we (media and journalism reporters) could collaboratively track a breaking press freedom news story some point in the future, as the journalists did with the floods in Washington.
Freelance journalist Dave Green reports for Journalism.co.uk from Beijing:
With the Olympic Games under way in Beijing, the political controversies surrounding the competition have taken a backseat while the world’s elite athletes grab the headlines.
There is a mood of optimism here that is difficult to define and a sense on the ground that the opening ceremony was a defining moment in history, one which it can be hoped will give China the confidence to move forward with the openness to question its past and, perhaps, admit to some mistakes.
Yet old media habits die hard: even foreign China Daily columnist Brendan John Worrell‘s assessment of the investment in “vital infrastructure” that has contributed to one of the most remarkable urban facelifts in history ignores the fact that many people have had their homes destroyed or walls constructed around their unsightly communities in the process.
Worrell conveniently ignores the protests in Tiananmen Square – perhaps unsurprising as the women marching against enforced relocations were given no coverage in the commercial press here – but he does go on to make a good point about China’s need to address “new pressing goals.”
Over on the country’s newsdesks, it took the influence of foreign editors to ensure the reporting of a US tourist’s murder received due prominence on the front pages and was not buried. Other coverage did not benefit from the same influence: the Xinhua News Agency’s report of five Tibet protesters detained in Tiananmen Square on the same day was tacked onto the bottom of the same reports of the tourist attack.
Perhaps the sheer insanity of protesting against repression in Tibet can justifiably be likened to that of stabbing three people and then committing suicide? Or perhaps it’s just because searching for the article online using the terms ‘Tibet’ and ‘protest’ will garner no references at all.
As Western eyes begin to adjust to the dark fact that the overwhelming security presence in Beijing may well be a necessary precaution given the attacks in the western Xinjiang Province, the media here is celebrating the mobilization of around 400,000 street-level forces. Yet you can’t help but feel that relishing the deployment of a 70,000–strong army of grandma vigilantes, as China Daily does, is a bridge too far.
The China Daily piece strikes an uneasy tone that veers between sinister and depreciating:
“Mind the suspicious strangers. You see one smoking guy over there is glancing this way and that, watch him, and report to the police station immediately once something is wrong,” it quotes 65-year-old Sun Li as saying.
“[C]atching bad guys is a policeman’s job but we’re here to help out and drink more water to prevent us fainting in this sunshine,” it concludes.
There are more serious issues to be resolved, in particular protests by the International Federation of Journalists over the constant presence of plainclothes police in the capital allegedly monitoring journalists, and more demonstrations will surely follow.
But, as Beijing’s media and its people feel the push and pull of global forces, it is safe to say that progress of a sort is being made. The key question remains what will happen after the circus leaves town, and will there will be enough residual pressure to keep the concessions that have already been made in place?
The Play the Game for Open Journalism site features: a list of reporters guides from industry groups such as Human Rights Watch; forums for journalists to discuss their experiences; and background information on Beijing.
The organisers will also be operating a helpline for journalists in China during the Olympics, who are facing pressure from authorities because of their work. The number for emergency assistance is + 32 475 76 13 92. To report
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for a full investigation into the death of photojournalist Richard Mills, who died while working for The Times in Zimbabwe.
In a letter from NUJ president James Doherty to South African president Thabo Mbeki, the union raised concerns that Mills’ death could be linked to his work and was not suicide as claimed by the Zimbabwean authorities.
“The National Union of Journalists shares with his family, colleagues and friends their grave concern at the circumstances surrounding Richard’s death (…)You will be aware that the current Zimbabwean government has a notorious record in relation to human rights and freedom of expression. Against this background we are requesting that you raise this incident in your discussions with Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that it is investigated in an open and transparent manner,” the letter said.
Mills, whose funeral was held in Belfast yesterday, was working undercover for The Times at the time of his death.
Editorial Photographers UK published an obituary for Richard on the site.
UPDATE – the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), who had also called for an investigation into Richard’s death, have withdrawn their demand after his family announced they had accepted the result of a post-mortem, which suggested he had taken his own life.