The past few years have presented unprecedented challenges for journalists and others working in media. Citizens and media workers alike across the world, including in Ethiopia, India, Syria, Ukraine, and Turkey, have faced years of attacks on their freedom of expression as they were increasingly targeted for repression, arrested, silenced, threatened, and more.
With the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020, journalists became an even more crucial source of health information and news while simultaneously navigating a pandemic that has killed millions. As citizens were focused on the largest health crisis of the last 100 years, many governments took the opportunity to implement authoritarian policies or consolidate power in harmful ways.
This is the context in which we celebrate World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) on May 3, 2022. WFPD’s theme this year is “digital siege,” one we at Global Voices find particularly fitting, as our team of journalists, editors, and activists have been a strong, consistent voice in documenting the rise of digital authoritarianism over the past decade. One of our newest projects, the Unfreedom Monitor, launched in March 2022, analyzes and documents how digital communications technologies are being used to advance authoritarian governance around the world. In our Civic Media Observatory work, we have highlighted the importance of an independent press by exploring how Russia has coopted domestic media to wage a propaganda campaign to build support for its war against Ukraine.
But there’s good news as well. In April we witnessed the vindication of a journalist by the European Human Rights Court after being falsely accused of defamation in North Macedonia. In Tbilisi, Georgia, the courts charged 20 far-right citizens with attacking journalists after violence broke out at a Pride March in June 2021. And in Afghanistan, even as we witnessed the effective collapse of the free press under the Taliban rule in August 2021, countless brave women journalists have persevered and spoken out against oppressive and misogynistic policies they enacted.
Freedom of expression is one of Global Voices’ most treasured values, and in observing World Press Freedom Day, we emphasize stories that are often neglected in mainstream media coverage, highlighting the perspectives of regular citizens, marginalized communities, and the work of local journalists.
To read a selection of our work on press freedom, see the stories below:
Stories about World Press Freedom Day 2022
Journalism in Latin America is facing many forms of silencing. These independent outlets break through censorship with innovative ideas.
"Many journalists have gone into hiding or fled abroad with no legal or financial support and only pro-military publications can now work openly in the country."
Gvaramia was first charged in 2020 with abuse of power, embezzling property at Rustavi 2, commercial bribery, and forging documents. He was found not guilty on the last three counts.
Journalists and media houses in Sri Lanka are facing many challenges covering the ongoing economic crisis and growing public protests; some newspapers have suspended publication and many journalists were injured.
In a country with limited press freedom and restricted access to independent media, these five journalists have impacted Cuban media with their distinct and independent perspectives.
This week, we head to China, India, Colombia, Indonesia and Serbia to hear from journalists and researchers about what challenges the media faces in those countries.
"One does not need to be Iranian to relate to the sense of uncertainty and repression woven into [Khosravi's] paintings."
A report by Pakistani rights organization Freedom Network reveals that journalists in Pakistan were subjected to violence, legal cases, abductions, detentions and threats last year, mostly from the state actors.
This World Press Freedom Day, we review the human rights violations, free speech barriers, and media abuses in Papua, which has been annexed by Indonesia for almost 60 years.
As the world marks World Free Press Day, the government of Kazakhstan enacts a law restricting social media freedom in a country where media are under control of state authorities.
When at least four journalists remain behind bars, independent and opposition websites are blocked, and censorship prevails in Azerbaijan, there is little cause for celebration on this day.
For acclaimed journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, winning a Nobel Peace Prize offers no protection
For Filipino journalist Maria Ressa and Russian editor Dmitry Muratov, winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize has not provided protection from their attackers and state threats as they continue their investigations.
'The environment within which journalists in the Caribbean operate is becoming increasingly perilous.'
The Western Balkans will need unity and cooperation across society to overcome press freedom challenges
Independent media in the Western Balkans face disinformation campaigns, hate speech, physical attacks, threats, low income, poor economic status, divisions, self-censorship and job insecurity.
On World Press Freedom Day 2022, the spotlight is on the media’s important role as defenders of information integrity, especially in times of crisis.
Despite privacy concerns, the location data has unexpectedly exposed the whereabouts of pro-government opinion leaders and patriotic trolls.
Andrey Zakharov, BBC News Russian: For eight years, propaganda has been preparing people to support the war in Ukraine
In his opinion, Russia has lost the information war abroad, even though many Russian citizens support the regime.
"Uthaya Sankar SB’s arrest for his social media post highlights the limits of free expression in Malaysia on issues such as religion."
The arrest comes after Haskoloğlu reported on an alleged hacking of a government database.
Launched in 1995, the Awards is one of the most important platforms to celebrate and honour human rights journalism from around Asia.
A six-minute video on the lockdown in Shanghai had gone viral and sparked large-scale online protests after the Chinese censor handed down a comprehensive content removal order on April 22, 2022.