BBG Marks World Press Freedom Day

To mark World Press Freedom Day, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its broadcasters will take time to remember the journalists we’ve lost, reflect on the challenges we face, and move forward as we continue to provide news and analysis to those who don’t have access to a free press.

Press freedom is in decline worldwide, and the BBG has joined other leading international broadcasters to voice concern. In a statement, available here, the group said that “media freedom is facing its greatest challenge since the Cold War with Internet blocking, satellite jamming and the return of shortwave jamming.”

Personal attacks, as well, have been on the rise. In the past 12 months, the broadcasters of BBG have been the target of a wide variety of attacks. As the slide show below shows, these threats to our journalists come in many forms – from physical attacks to intimidation and smear campaigns.

The broadcasters of the BBG are also marking the day with original programming and extensive coverage. Alhurra is airing several special broadcasts, including an episode of Hunna (Women’s Views) that will profile missing Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and interview his wife Arzu Kadumi. Fahmi has been missing since August 20, 2012 when he was caught in crossfire while reporting in Syria.

Radio Free Asia issued a statement earlier this week voicing concern about the status of press freedoms in its broadcast countries. All six of the countries in which RFA broadcasts have been classified as “Not Free” by the latest Freedom House Freedom in the Press report.

Voice of America and the Martís will provide special coverage of the day’s events in the U.S. and around the world. The Martís will also speak with independent journalists in Cuba where recent immigration policy changes have affected press freedoms there. This comes on the heels of two high profile visits to the Martís by journalists and bloggers Yoani Sánchez and Antonio Rodiles.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will release a special video featuring messages from field reporters speaking out about the importance of a free press.

Finally, in a virtual reading of names, throughout the day, the BBG will tweet the name and photo of every journalist who has been killed while in the service of U.S. international broadcasting. Those journalists are also honored in the video below.