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Freedom of Speech News

The latest developments on threats to Freedom of Speech over the past week.
With Reporters sans frontières

China: Two cyber-dissidents put under surveillance during UN human rights visit
The Chinese authorities put Liu Di, a young Internet user who was imprisoned for a year in 2002-2003, and Liu Xiaobo, a leading figure in the Chinese pro-democracy movement, under surveillance on 29 August while receiving a visit from Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Vietnam : Government urged to pardon three cyber-dissidents
Reporters Without Borders called on justice minister Uong Chu Luu and on president Tran Duc Luong to include Pham Hong Son, Nguyen Khac Toan and Nguyen Vu Binh in the list of prisoners who will be pardoned on the 60th anniversary of Vietnam's independence on 2 September. More details.

Deutsche Welle blogs contest
Bloggers invited to compete in freedom of expression category sponsored by Reporters sans frontières
Deutsche Welle launched its second Best Of The Blogs – or BOBS – competition on 1 September. Reporters Without Borders is sponsoring a special category for blogs that defend freedom of expression. Internet users are invited to use an online form to propose their favourite blog (in any of nine languages).
The BOBS site
Propose a blog
Attention: To propose a blog that defends freedom of expression, click on “Special Reporters Without Borders Award” in the Nomination Category menu.

1 comment

  • Journalism Training: Money for nothing?

    About ten years ago, only a few people went abroad to study journalism and communications each year while most of Vietnamese journalists were not trained professionally. Then foreign organisations rushed in to fill the gap with many courses in and out the country. Hundreds of thousands dollars, maybe several million, have been poured into these programs, but they did not seem to work.

    Sweedish organisations, like The Institute for the Further Education of Journalists (FOJO) or SIDA, are perhaps the pioneers with a long history of involvement. They have been joining hands with big local media outlets since years ago to hold short training courses and seminars.

    A popular 2-phase format applied to these courses attracted attendants, because they would have a chance to study overseas for a week or ten days after or before a part in Vietnam.

    Many other Western organisations have recently crawled in, too. The New York-based Independent Journalists Foundation (IJF) used to bring Vietnamese journalists to its center in Phnom Penh, then took a big advance to hold workshops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. IJF, in cooperation with the Vietnam News Agency, the only wire news service in the country, held a series of workshops for journalists and journalism trainers which were highly appreciated.
    Other names that should be mentioned are the Bangkok-based Indochina Media Memorial Foundation (IMMF) and French Lille University, among others, which have been providing much support to journalism training in Vietnam. The World Bank also stepped in with various courses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    These courses – short and long term – helped creat minor changes, but not big ones.

    Due to confused and even controversial criteria of selection in local media organisations, a number of participants of these courses just go to classes to… nod their heads. They left behind immediately what they had just been tought. Another problem, in my opinion, is that the foreign training organisations do not have a system to go after their journalists-students and back them up with updated information and knowledge. There should be some kind of cooperation with local newspapers and media organisations to force the journalists to put what they have learnt into practice.

    If not, all money is thrown out of the window.

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