Freedom of speech is everything
spacerThe Roundupspacer
Freedom of speech is everything

Freedom of speech is everything

For many of us, thinking about the freedom that comes with our will to express ourselves and our opinion, is taken for granted on a daily basis. We can share memes of our politicians and tweet quite literally whatever comes to mind. Yet for millions of people around the world, freedom of speech is but an aspiration, currently hidden behind fear of persecution and alienation.

It's 2019 and press freedom is fighting a crucial battle. Protecting journalists continues to be a daily challenge and making sure we can all speak our truth, regardless of our varied political and religious beliefs should be high on everyone's list of priorities. Freedom of speech, freedom of reporting and the continued protection of everyone's right to an opinion is the basis of humanity.

We welcome you back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup, and this week we'd like to look at the global fight against the repression of free speech; a battle that we should all take part in. So here are some facts – good and bad alike – and always remember to Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

Ok, it was hard to find a good.

While journalism worldwide is becoming more advanced, more precise and certainly more in-depth, the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that press freedom is declining around the world as authoritarian rule tightens its grip on free speech and incites violence and abuse against those who speak out.

The RSF Index, which is a report that looks at the state of journalism safety in 180 on a yearly basis, has this year exposed the intense global climate around freedom of the press. So is there hope? Of course there is, and at FairPlanet we are determined to keep that hope alive. The very fact that this report exists is hope. The fact that we are aware of the crisis and have bodies in place to right its wrong is also a place for hope.

Yet we need to continue standing our ground in our fight for press and personal speech freedom – particularly those of us who live in places that are considered safe.

Image courtesy of RSF
The bad

Freedom of the media has been deteriorating around the world over the past decade

Some countries have suffered tremendously from the rising trend by populist leaders to curtail free speech, with a particular pressure on the media. Over the past two decades, under the rule of President Joseph Kabila, The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) freedom of speech and press freedom has deteriorated.

In response, Front Line Defenders, an NGO that monitors and supports human rights activists across the globe, has placed one of its focuses on the situation in DRC. FDL regularly publish and track cases of individuals harassed and arrested by the authorities in DRC for their humanitarian work and expression of dissent. Follow their work and support their cause to help end the curtailing of free speech in the DRC.


Support DRC’s persecuted journalists and freedom fighters

by Yair Oded

Front Line Defenders document and publicize cases of human rights abuse by the DRC government against its citizens, political activists, and journalists.
Freedom of speech around the globe
Ivan Golunov

Why Russian repressive system back-pedalled

by Igor Serebryany

When the reporter of the Riga-based Meduza newspaper was detained by police, it looked like just another repressive act of the Russian authorities.
Prashant Kanojia

India’s war on free speech

by Tish Sanghera

The arrest of freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia last week has fuelled fears of a mounting war on free speech in the world’s largest democracy.

Egypt’s hotline to fight fake news and censor journalists

by Bob Koigi

The Office of Public Prosecutions in defending the decree argued that the technology advancement had birthed a proliferation of numerous communication channels that had become wild and unregulated.
journalsts law

Weak laws a threat for journalists in Bosnia

by Katarina Panić

It’s been weeks since journalist Vladimir Kovačević was heavily attacked in Banja Luka in Bosnia Herzegovina and police investigation still has no leads.
Country focus
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Situated smack in the middle of the African continent and stretching over large spans of land, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a country that has been battling with a complex and bloody political situation, being the centre of what has been titled the 'African World War'.

DRC, as it is commonly abbreviated, sits on incredibly rich land with vast mineral wealth, yet a large number of its over 81 million citizens live in poverty. The country has been ruled by President Joseph Kabila, who took over the position from his father Laurent Kabila in 2001 after he was assassinated. Press freedom is ranked 154 out of 180 countries around the world, making it one of the worst countries for freedom of speech and reporting.