The Independent | Voices in Danger

Journalists exist to tell the story, rather than be the story.


But in many parts of the world, it is becoming increasingly dangerous for them to do their jobs. Last year was the deadliest for more than a decade, according to Reporters Without Borders. So far this year, 25 journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists have been killed and 331 imprisoned for their work.


We at the Independent believe this is a global disgrace. A story that needs to be told.


From the Maldives to Brazil, evidence abounds of journalists being harassed and hounded. Hundreds more flee their countries every year.


Voices in Danger will give their cases the mass media airing they deserve.

Support us.



By putting these outrages against democracy on display to the world, we will bring pressure to bear on the regimes that are, at best, turning the other way, at worst bringing violent oppression down upon their own citizens.


You can help journalists in danger by donating to Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Where appropriate, we will provide links allowing you to contact the regimes directly and call for them to respect their duty to safeguard freedom of speech for their people.


Bad publicity is often the weapon leaders fear more than anything. Let’s use it.


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Voices
A man holds a portrait of slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya during a rally marking the 8th anniversary of her death in Moscow, last year

Award-winning investigative reporter Elena Milashina, who writes for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, received death threats that she believes are, “a real contract for my murder.” She also believes that she is the target of an online smear campaign by the Chechen political elite after derogatory comments were made about her online. Milashina has fled Chechnya in fear for her safety.

Voices

Female journalists reporting in hostile environments around the world see sexual assault as a major concern.

Voices
Reeyot Alemu (L) and Eskinder Nega (R)

Ethiopian journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu are among 17 journalists known to be languishing in dismal conditions in Ethiopia's Kality Prison. Nega described the prison in his last letter to the New York Times as a “wide hall that looks like a warehouse” where 200 inmates sleep on the unswept floor, and share three toilets between them. Other journalists have simply chosen to flee.

Voices
Anuška Delić and her lawyer at a press conference two days before the start of her trial

At least half a dozen journalists have been charged or threatened with criminal indictments in the last 12 months under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Slovenia.

Voices

The same week that the decapitated body of José Moisés Sanchez was buried, an editor fled for his life when three gunmen abducted him in broad daylight and beat him in a van while they drove around the northeastern border town Matamoros, Mexico. Enrique Juárez Torres, editor of the privately owned daily El Mañana, went into hiding last month in an undisclosed location, after one night of contemplating his future.

Voices
Bob Rugurika

Dozens of Burundian civilians and media representatives took to the streets when authorities imprisoned popular journalist Bob Rugurika, Director of Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), a longstanding private radio station that focuses on human rights issues, after he reported on the murder of three elderly Italian nuns. The journalist is known for his wit and humour and, despite life in prison, he has not lost his morale.

Voices
Ekrem Dumanli is arrested by counter-terrorism police at his newspaper's headquarters

In what has been termed a “witch hunt of the press”, Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of Turkey's daily newspaper Zaman, was arrested in December. He was the first to be detained, but was soon joined by Hidayet Karaca, the head of the Samanyolu Broadcast Group (STV), and over two dozen other media workers across Turkey.

Voices
Ilgar Nasibov, a journalist and activist who works for Azerbaijan's Nakchivan Resource Centre, was badly beaten

Last August, assailants burst into the offices of the Nakchivan Resource Centre, the only independent human rights organisation operating in the northwest province of Azerbaijan, and brutally attacked Ilgar Nasibov, an independent journalist and rights activist. According to Human Rights Watch, the attack coincided with a wave of government repression designed to squash independent, critical voices in the oil rich country.

Voices

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has now come out of hiding, but the small network of citizen journalists operating within the world's most secretive state will never have that luxury. ASIAPRESS International journalist Ishimaru Jiro, the network's only outside contact, reveals the risks they take to deliver behind-the-scenes accounts of life within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Voices

Russian forensics experts confirmed last week that human remains found in a burnt-out car near Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine were those of 33 year old Russian photographer Andrei Stenin. Despite last week's conclusive forensic report, speculation around his death still remains.

Voices
James Foley responds to questions during an interview with The Associated Press, in Boston

The gruesome beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Isis), a rebel group once affiliated with Al-Qaeda, has sent shockwaves through the international community.

Voices
Nikolai Yarst and Philipp Vasilenko in Sochi

A Sochi-based journalist and his cameraman who had been investigating suspected child trafficking by Russian government officials fled Moscow with the clothes on their backs. Their lawyer warned them never to return to Sochi, or they could be killed. Now asylum seekers, Nikolai Yarst and Philipp Vasilenko talked to Voices in Danger about the events that led them to flee for their lives.

Voices
Ilya Bezkorovaynyi poses for the camera in front of a truck in Eastern Ukraine

Despite journalist Anastasiya Stanko taking every precaution to safely travel through conflict-torn Eastern Ukraine, she and her cameraman were kidnapped and held for three days in a dark, cold basement. Her captors told her, “You are here because you are a journalist of the enemy state.” In this exclusive interview, Voices in Danger speaks to the recently released Anastasiya Stanko.

Voices
Valerio Luiz de Oliveira was killed by a masked gunman in 2012

A masked man on a motorbike gunned down Brazilian sports journalist, Valerio Luiz de Oliveira, through the window of his stationary car. He was dead within minutes. The sports journalist's son and lawyer, Valerio Luis de Oliveira Filho, talks to Voices in Danger about the ongoing battle for justice two years on.

Voices
A Chinese policeman blocks photos being taken outside Zhongnanhai which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China

Chinese authorities began a nationwide crackdown of journalists well before the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Voices
Pro-Russians ride on a truck in Donetsk. A convoy of an armored personnel carrier and seven trucks carrying several hundred heavily armed men drove through central Donetsk and gunmen got out of the trucks, stood to attention and gave shots in the air in jubilation as a crowd of several thousand supporters cheered them and chanted:

The campaign by pro-Russian separatists to muzzle local Ukrainian journalists appears to be succeeding. Scores of foreign and local Ukrainian journalists are being attacked, brutalised and held captive with increasing intensity. Nearly every day since the beginning of April, a new missing person’s report is filed by the families of the working journalists.

Voices

It’s been over 100 days into Rouhadi’s Presidency in Iran, and two more Kurdish-Iranian journalists have been arrested and detained. Forty year old Khosro Kordpour was sentence to six years and his younger brother Masoud Kordpour to three and a half years.  Khosro is facing the additional special charge of “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth” – both of which hold the death penalty.  

Voices

Plainclothes police arrested journalist Ali Anouzla at his home in Rabat, Morocco, in the early hours of Tuesday, 17 September 2013.  Before being dragged off to jail, Ali managed to inform his colleagues that police officers searched his home, and confiscated books, documents and his personal computer. According to journalists on the scene at the offices of lakome.com, the premier online news agency founded by Ali Anouzla, they also confiscated key computer parts and components.

Voices

After 20 days of torture at the hands of the Death Squads, Carlos Santos begged to have his life ended.  His torturer paused for a moment to whisper in his ear, “Only two more days, and you will be released.”  His crime: writing and performing a 25 minute theatre piece with four of his fellow students on the streets of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador.  The year was 1983.  He was only 16-years-old.

Voices

Imagine having to wear a bullet-proof vest, drive in a blackened out armoured car, and travel with five armed bodyguards so that you can get to work everyday.  That’s how Jineth Bedoya Lima must travel to work at Colombia’s daily newspaper El Tiempo to get there safe and alive.  After having been kidnapped twice, raped, tortured and left for dead on the side of a road when she was only 26, Jineth doesn’t take any chances now. She hasn’t seen her sister, nephews and nieces for fear of bringing harm to them. It’s the same reason she has chosen to never start a family of her own. 

Voices

"It was the murder of Anna Politovskaya that really brought home to me the importance of journalistic freedom.


Anna, who worked for my family’s campaigning newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was murdered at her block of flats in Moscow after running a series of exposes of Russian atrocities in Chechnya."


Read more...

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