Today is World Press Freedom Day, an annual day of advocacy for the freedom of the press, as well as commemoration for journalists who are suffering restriction and imprisonment, or have made the ultimate sacrifice, for the sake of the free flow of information. “As they investigate sensitive issues, unveil disturbing truths and question policies, journalists find themselves in the firing line of those directly or indirectly exposed by their reports,” writes the World Association of Newspapers.
In the lead-up to the event, four members of Reporters Sans Frontiers have have been on a hunger strike since this past Tuesday in support of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge of spying for the United States. The day before, in Paris, the RSF also staged an event for the two Asian-American journalists currently being held by the North Koran government. “The detention of Saberi, Lee and Ling on arbitrary charges demonstrates more than ever the importance of World Press Freedom Day,” writes the RSF.
Obviously, if journalists from the world’s leading power aren’t safe, then imagine the insecurity faced by journalists and their support staff throughout the world. For example, according to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, Radio Free Europe’s Afghanistan service, Radio Azadi, routinely receives threats from the Taliban. Last year, two of its reporters were kidnapped by the insurgent group, but were later freed. As of this past Wednesday, group has threatened a suicide bombing against Radio Azadi’s main bureau in Kabul.
Freedom of the press saves lives. “Azadi has a real impact in the country,” the source writes in an e-mail “A would-be suicide bomber once called them and said, ‘Thanks to your programs, I have decided not to explode myself.’ Can you imagine?”
Read the full post @ neweurasia…