Stories of strength and hope
May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Against a growing and disturbing global trend of restricting civil society space, we are seeing a crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of expression — with journalists, bloggers and whistle-blowers on the front lines — in many places across the world.
In 2017 Indonesia was the official host of the UN World Press Freedom Day key event. West Papua activists pointed out the Indonesian government and military’s oppressive restriction of movement, use of torture and its arbitrary detention prevents journalists and others freely reporting on what is happening in West Papua.
Poonam Agarwal is a investigative journalist and human rights defender working for the online news portal The Quint, where she regularly covers stories related to human rights in India and the abuse of law by the powerful.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is a blogger and Coordinator of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network. Since 2006, she has been blogging under the pseudonym of Me Nam (Mother Mushroom). She is known for her criticism of the government, including revealing corruption cases and human rights violations committed by the authorities.
Shamael Al-Noor is a journalist working with Al-Tayyar newspaper in Sudan. Al-Tayyar is an independent Sudanese daily newspaper that was founded in 2012. Shamael Al-Noor regularly writes for Al-Tayyar where she criticises extremism and promotes human rights.
Radio Salmon in Colombia
The Radio Salmon (El Salmón) project in Colombia mobilises socially sensitive dialogue, encourages critical and participatory processes in defence of dignity and diversity as identity elements of social reconstruction.
Radio Progreso in Honduras
Radio Progreso is an award winning radio station with over 60 years reporting on human rights, social exclusion and defence of the territory.
Magezi Jackson, Trader Suleiman, Prosper Businge and Kyaligonze Fred are members of Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC), which is an NGO based in Fort Portal, in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda. TLC makes weekly radio programs centred on human rights, capacity building, civic education, and the monitoring and documentation of human rights violations.
If you’d like to help bring these stories into the light, learn more, share stories to social media, add your voice to actions or send a message of solidarity to human rights defenders at risk click this Frontline Defenders link.
You can also visit the online Human Rights Defenders Memorial. It highlights the scale of the problem of impunity for the killings of human rights defenders (including journalists, whistleblowers and activists). The Memorial celebrates the courage and achievements of human rights defenders who have been killed; it keeps their memory alive; and it use the truth to confront governments who think that human rights defenders can be eliminated without consequences. It’s also a way of sending a message of solidarity and support to their family, friends and colleagues, reminding them that they have not been forgotten.
The music in these pieces is ‘Land of the Morning Star’ from the documentary (and album) Strange Birds in Paradise, about the Indonesian occupation of West Papua.