Posts Tagged ‘freedom of the press’

Dan David Prize for Defending Democracy to Reporters Without Borders and Michael Ignatieff

February 8, 2019

The internationally Dan David Prize annually awards three prizes of US $1 million each to outstanding figures and organizations whose efforts have made outstanding humanistic, scientific and technological contributions and represent remarkable achievement in selected fields within the three dimensions of time – Past, Present and Future. This year’s fields were: Macro History, Defending Democracy, and Combatting Climate Change.

On 6 February 2019 WEBWIRE reported that the  Laureates in the “Present” dimension, in the field of Defending Democracy, are: Reporters Without Borders, an international organization helping to sustain the freedom of the press across national boundaries; and Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest.

Reporters Without Borders, also known under its French name Reporters sans frontières (RSF), defends freedom, independence and pluralism of journalism. It monitors government policies regarding the press and other media, and provides material, financial and psychological support for journalists and newspapers discriminated against and persecuted by the authorities. ..RSF has launched in 2018 a key initiative about Information and democracy. by creating an international commission composed by 25 prominent figures from 18 nationalities, including Nobel laureates, famous journalists facing authoritarian strongmen and specialists of new technologies. This commission adopted the “International Declaration on Information and Democracy”, which aims at establishing basic principles for the global information and communication space. 12 heads of Governments and States committed to sign a pledge on Information and Democracy based on this declaration.

RSF also launched the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI), with the aim of promoting journalistic methods, editorial independence, media transparency, and respect for journalistic ethics by giving concrete advantages (especially technological and economic ones) to news media that adhere to standards defined collaboratively in a process of self-regulation. [see also:]

Michael Ignatieff has advocated for democracy around the world as a reporter, a champion of human rights, and as one of the first to warn against the rise of ethnic nationalism. In particular, he is acknowledged for his leadership as the President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest, standing in the front lines against the campaign to stifle academic freedom, free expression and pluralism in the country.

The liberal democratic order faces a rising tide of new authoritarianism and populism; the very values that have sustained freedom and democracy are called into question,” observed Ariel David, a member of the Dan David Prize’s board and son of the Prize founder. “Reporters Without Borders and Michael Ignatieff are being recognized for their leadership in the daily struggle to protect freedom of the press and freedom of academia. These basic liberties are pillars of democracy and it is no coincidence that the media and universities are often the primary targets of the populist and authoritarian regimes that have risen to power.” The Dan David Prize is named after the late Mr. Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist whose vision is the driving force behind the international Dan David Prize.  His aim was to reward those who have made a lasting impact on society and to help young students and entrepreneurs become the scholars and leaders of the future.

Azerbaijan: press freedom under threat say Civil Rights Defenders

February 20, 2013

On 17 February 2013 I wrote about the case of Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of the website, a former AI prisoner of conscience and winner of press freedom awards (see also quote at the end of this post) who seems to have taken a more apologetic stand with regard to violations in his home country Azerbaijan. Just a few days before – 11 February – the NGO Civil Rights Defenders had published a piece under the title:  ‘New crackdown on human rights activities in Azerbaijan’. There seems to be no stand taken by Fatullayev (at least not in English).

Photo: Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Avaz Zeynalli, chief editor of Khural newspaper, charged for tax evasion and corruption.

The Azeri government is putting new pressure on the country’s already repressed civil society. NGOs that receive even minor funds can be severely punished, according to a new draft law. The draft follows a series of repressions of media workers and civil activists. According to the proposed amendments NGOs receiving donation over the equivalent of 190 euro without a proper agreement, face up to 3500 euro and confiscation of property. This increases the authorities’ control over NGOs. The violations have grown in the beginning of 2013. Media workers that have been covering demonstrations and riots have been arrested, questions and in some cases beaten. At the same time the homes of journalists and civil activists have been searched, detained, subjected to gas attacks, put under surveillance and in other ways obstructed in their work. Read the rest of this entry »