Since 1992, almost 800 journalists have been murdered for nothing more than simply reporting the news. In nine out of ten of these cases, their killers will go unpunished. This grave failure of justice for our fallen colleagues is a travesty. We must not only honor their memory and their brave legacies but also urge governments around the world to immediately end impunity for those who have committed crimes against journalists.
Despite restrictions, the relentless entrepreneurial spirit of the Cuban people to access the news and information remains deeply inspiring.
On Tuesday, BBG Board Chairman Jeff Shell was denied entry into Russia and detained at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport. Despite having a valid passport and Russian visa, he was detained in a locked room for several hours, before being accompanied by Russian security officials to board a flight to Amsterdam.
On May 25th, 2016, the world got a little bit safer. That’s because at approximately 2:00 p.m. local time, the Azerbaijan Supreme Court in Baku finally gave in to the demands of human rights activists and press freedom advocates around the world and released investigative journalist and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contributor Khadija Ismayilova.
I am saddened by the killing of David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna. Their deaths are a frightening reminder of the dangers that journalists face around the world, especially in dangerous places like Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and colleagues.
For too long – 537 days –Khadija has been separated from her family and friends and prohibited from serving the Azerbaijani people with her investigative reporting. I welcome her release and I hope that it is an indication that change is coming to Azerbaijan when it comes to press freedom.
Freedom of the press is a basic tenet of our democracy and a staple of a free and open society. Upholding press freedom is the top priority of the BBG in its efforts to support accurate, objective journalism around the world. Our networks play a critical role in engaging audiences to further democratic values through open and free exchanges of information. They aim to stimulate debate in closed societies and those where free media are not yet fully established, especially where local media fail to inform and empower citizens.
Today, the Voice of America made another step toward positive change and reform with the addition of Sandy Sugawara as Deputy Director.
Last week, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president in nearly 90 years to visit Cuba as part of the renewal of ties between the long-time adversaries. More than one thousand journalists descended on Cuba to cover the president’s three-day visit, including reporters from U.S.-funded civilian broadcast entities under the BBG.
Seventy-four years ago in February 1942, with countries across the globe in the throes of the Second World War, American writer and journalist William Harlan Hale initiated the first VOA radio show in German with these now-immortal words: