Posts Tagged ‘RSF’

Novalpina urged to come clean about targeting human rights defenders

February 19, 2019

In an open letter released today, 18 February 2019, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and five other NGOs urged Novalpina to publicly commit to accountability for NSO Group’s past spyware abuses, including the targeting of an Amnesty International employee and the alleged targeting of Jamal Khashoggi. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/08/29/apple-tackles-iphone-one-tap-spyware-flaws-after-mea-laureate-discovers-hacking-attempt/]

Danna Ingleton, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, said: “Novalpina’s executives have serious questions to answer about their involvement with a company which has become the go-to surveillance tool for abusive governments. This sale comes in the wake of reports that NSO paid private operatives to physically intimidate individuals trying to investigate its role in attacks on human rights defenders – further proof that NSO is an extremely dangerous entity.

We are calling on Novalpina to confirm an immediate end to the sale or further maintenance of NSO products to governments which have been accused of using surveillance to violate human rights. It must also be completely transparent about its plans to prevent further abuses.

This could be an opportunity to finally hold NSO Group to account. Novalpina must commit to fully engaging with investigations into past abuses of NSO’s spyware, and ensure that neither NSO Group nor its previous owners, Francisco Partners, are let off the hook.”

The signatories to the letter are:

  • Amnesty International
  • R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
  • Privacy International
  • Access Now
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law and Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/02/spyware-firm-buyout-reaffirms-urgent-need-for-justice-for-targeted-activists/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2019/02/open-letter-to-novalpina-capital-nso-group-and-francisco-partners/

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: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/01/30/world-press-freedom-index-2018-is-out-colorful-but-disheartening/]

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.

https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=235457

World Press Freedom Index 2018 is out – colorful but disheartening

January 30, 2019

The World Press Freedom Index 2018 is out.

Published every year since 2002 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the World Press Freedom Index is an advocacy tool. The Index is a point of reference that is quoted by media throughout the world and is used by diplomats and international entities such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

The Index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists. (It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country and region. It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country’s ranking. Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country or region.)

Click here for more information

THE PRESS FREEDOM MAP, which is distributed in print and digital versions, offers a visual overview of the situation in each country and region in the Index. The colour categories are assigned as follows: good (white), fairly good (yellow), problematic (orange), bad (red) and very bad (black).

 

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

Reporters Without Borders: 2018 World Press Freedom Index makes sobering reading

April 26, 2018

Reporters Without Borders  (better known under its French acronym RSF) published its WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX 2018. The rankings you can find by clicking here READ MORE. The regional chapters below give a quick overview of the main trends, including the disturbing downward turn in the USA, the further sinking in ex-sovjet states and China’s nefarious example in Asia.

RSF INDEX 2018: JOURNALISM SORELY TESTED IN NORTH AFRICA

North Africa’s performance in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index reflects the different pressures to which journalists are exposed. Restrictive laws, reporting problems (especially at protests), and subjects that are off limits all prevent journalists from being free to provide independently reported and pluralist news and information.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: US FALLS AS CANADA RISES

Despite having strong constitutional protections to the contrary, the latest World Press Freedom Index findings on the US and Canada reveal two countries whose journalists and media workers face constant challenges to the very freedom to exercise their profession.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: MIXED PERFORMANCE IN LATIN AMERICA

The 2018 Index shows a slight overall improvement in respect for press freedom in Latin America but this should not divert attention from the continuing problems of violence, impunity, and authoritarian policies towards journalists in many Latin American countries.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: ASIA-PACIFIC DEMOCRACIES THREATENED BY CHINA’S MEDIA CONTROL MODEL

The Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries, especially Vietnam and Cambodia. North Asia’s democracies are struggling to establish themselves as alternative models. Violence against journalists is increasingly worrying in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: THE DANGERS OF REPORTING IN AFRICA

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA HAS MAINTAINED ITS THIRD PLACE IN THE RANKING BY GEOGRAPHICAL REGION, WITH A SLIGHTLY BETTER OVERALL INDICATOR THAN IN 2017. BUT THERE IS A WIDE RANGE OF SITUATIONS WITHIN THE REGION, AND JOURNALISTS ARE OFTEN THE VICTIMS OF INTIMIDATION, PHYSICAL VIOLENCE, AND ARREST.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: HISTORIC DECLINE IN PRESS FREEDOM IN EX-SOVIET STATES, TURKEY

THE FORMER SOVIET COUNTRIES AND TURKEY CONTINUE TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE WORLDWIDE DECLINE IN PRESS FREEDOM. ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF THE REGION’S COUNTRIES ARE RANKED SOMEWHERE NEAR OR BELOW THE 150TH POSITION IN THE INDEX. THE REGION’S OVERALL INDICATOR HAS SUNK ALMOST AS LOW AS THAT OF MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA, THE REGION THAT IS LAST IN THE RANKING BY REGION.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: JOURNALISTS ARE MURDERED IN EUROPE AS WELL

The European model’s erosion, a trend visible in RSF’s most recent Indexes, has continued in the 2018 Index. The region has been shaken by two murders, as well as by threats to investigative reporters and unprecedented verbal attacks on the media. Even the countries at the top of the Index are affected by this alarming climate.

READ MORE

RSF INDEX 2018: MIDDLE EAST RIVEN BY CONFLICTS, POLITICAL CLASHES

The Middle East’s countries are yet again at the bottom of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. Armed conflicts, terrorism charges against independent journalists and media, and growing online surveillance and censorship make reporting extremely dangerous for the region’s journalists.

READ MORE

 

https://rsf.org/en/rsf-index-2018-hatred-journalism-threatens-democracies

Antoine Bernard, former head of FIDH, joins Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

November 18, 2017

I was slow in announcing the departure of Antoine Bernard as head of the FIDH [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/12/antoine-bernard-has-left-fidh-after-26-years/] but am glad to be more on the ball for his next position: On 14 November 2017 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced that Antoine Bernard has been appointed RSF’s deputy director-general in charge of programmes. He will start in January 2018.

Bernard, 51, will help RSF secretary-general and director-general Christophe Deloire to consolidate and develop RSF’s work of defending journalistic freedom and independence at a time of great dangers for journalists.

Bernard said: “In a world dominated by opaqueness, propaganda and impunity for the powerful, journalism is in danger and, with it, human rights and democracy. RSF is waging a fight that is absolutely essential and Christophe Deloire has managed to put RSF at the international forefront of the defence of the freedom to inform and the protection of journalists. I am honoured to join Christophe and his team.

[The past five years have seen very rapid growth in RSF’s activities and influence and enhancement of its image. It has launched major campaigns at the UN and in the field, reinforced and professionalized its headquarters in Paris, doubled its personnel worldwide, developed its bureaux in Washington and Tunis, and created new bureaux in Rio de Janeiro, London and Taiwan. It plans to open two new bureaux in 2018, one in San Francisco and one in Africa.]

https://rsf.org/en/news/former-head-fidh-appointed-rsf-deputy-director-general

Reporters Without Borders published its 2014 World Press Freedom Index

February 14, 2015

couverture classement 2014

Reporters Without Borders recently published its 2014 World Press Freedom Index. It has a nice easy-to-use and colorful map. The accompanying text spotlights the negative correlation between freedom of information and conflicts, both open conflicts and undeclared ones. In an unstable environment, the media become strategic goals and targets for groups or individuals whose attempts to control news and information.

The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent. Despite occasional turbulence in the past year, these countries continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them. This year’s index covers 180 countries.

Reporters Without Borders.

THE SILENCED VOICES OF SYRIA: Special campaign aimed at Human Rights Defenders

March 16, 2014

While the whole of the Syrian population suffers terribly, it is important to recognize that human rights defenders, activists, media and humanitarian workers have been particularly targeted for their work since the beginning of the Syrian uprising three years ago. Many have been arrested or abducted by either government forces and pro-government militias or by non-state armed groups. The channels for obtaining reliable information are drying up and that is certainly not a coincidence.

Now several international NGOs such as Amnesty International, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, FIDH, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have come together to work jointly, with other international, regional and Syrian organizations, to campaign for the release of  these Silenced Voices of Syria.  The campaign is starting with the documentation of 37 emblematic cases.

This campaign will use a three-pronged strategy  of 1. Research and Documentation, 2. Information/Sensitisation and 3/ Mobilization.

via FREE SILENCED VOICES OF SYRIA | Civil society activists, media and medical workers targeted for their work.

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/one-more-disappearance-in-syria-roshdy-el-sheikh-rasheed/

Human rights group brands five companies as “mercenaries” and five countries as “enemies of the internet”

March 17, 2013

Internet!

 

Human rights group Reporters Without Borders has named and shamed five companies it claims allowed their products to be used by countries with bad human rights records and the NGO also named five countries as “enemies of the internet“. It said that five private sector companies; Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat are “digital era mercenaries”. The overall list of companies it believed were involved in selling products to authoritarian regimes was “not exhaustive” and will be expanded in the coming months. “They all sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information,” the group said.”Their products have been or are being used to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information. If these companies decided to sell to authoritarian regimes, they must have known that their products could be used to spy on journalists, dissidents and netizens.” It added that if surveillance products were sold to an authoritarian regime by an intermediary without their knowledge, “their failure to keep track of the exports of their own software means they did not care if their technology was misused and did not care about the vulnerability of those who defend human rights.” Research by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab has established that surveillance technology used against dissidents and human rights defenders in such countries as Egypt, Bahrain and Libya came from western companies, it claimed.

 

The Paris-based group labelled Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam as“enemies of the internet” Read the rest of this entry »

Iran continues its persecution of Human Rights Defenders: Narges Mohammadi detained

May 3, 2012

Prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was arrested last month. On Wednesday 26 April Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris said the group “strongly condemns” her jailing. Narges Mohammadi was a spokeswoman for Ebadi’s now-banned Center for Human Rights Defenders.

She was reportedly detained on Saturday 21 April and brought to Tehran’s Evin prison to begin serving a six-year sentence following a conviction in 2010 after she was accused of anti-government crimes. Mohammadi had remained free pending appeals. Ebadi left Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which touched off unprecedented protests and harsh crackdowns by authorities. Several of her co-workers have been arrested and harassed, such as Nasrin Sotoudeh, recently announced as a 2012 nominee of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (www.martinennalsaward.org).

For more details on her case see: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/04/narges-arrest/

Reporters Without Borders is concerned by the case because Narges is a journalist and author. In its recently released report on press freedom in 2011, the organisation ranks Iran number 175 outr of 179 countries surveyed. I states inter alia: “It is no surprise that the same trio of countries, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea, absolute dictatorships that permit no civil liberties, again occupy the last three places in the index. This year, they are immediately preceded at the bottom by Syria, Iran and China, three countries that seem to have lost contact with reality as they have been sucked into an insane spiral of terror, and by Bahrain and Vietnam, quintessential oppressive regimes. Other countries such as Uganda and Belarus have also become much more repressive.”

For the full report go to:

http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html

Human rights defender of the month: Svetlana Lukic

February 28, 2012

For 2012 Civil Rights Defenders, a NGO based in Stockholm, has started an interesting campaign: the Human Rights Defenders of the Month. Amnesty International has long done this for the ‘prisoner of the month’ and we should welcome the effort to focus similarly on HRDs. Whether the organisation will manage to keep a good international spread in view its current strong emphasis on Eastern Europe (understandable as it is the successor of the Helsinki committee) is another matter. The case of Svetlana Lukic is certainly a very deserving one which reminds me of the work done by Natasha Kandic, the 1999 MEA laureate.

During the Balkan wars in the 1990s the Serbian journalist Svetlana Lukic was suspended twice from her post at Radio Belgrade because of the way she chose to report. Even after the fall of Milosevic’s regime in year 2000, the pressure continued. Today most media outlets in Serbia are heavily controlled by political and business elites. One exception is the radio program Pescanik (in English: The Hourglass), which has gone from 100.000 listeners per week to 475.000 in the past five years. The Pescanik web portal has around 7.000 visitors a day. Several media houses, among them the national Public Broadcasting Service, have described Pescanik as ‘anti-Serbian’ or ‘treacherous’; an opinion also shared by right wing and fascist groups.

“Whenever I feel afraid for my safety, I am ashamed because I remember all those people I saw during the wars in the 90s who suffered and had real reasons to be afraid. Some of them are not alive any more.”

Ten years after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, Serbia is still dealing with the political, economic and cultural burden inherited from the conflicts that lasted for more than 10 years in the 1990-s. The country is deeply affected by issues like dealing with the past, the inability to secure continuity in the reform processes, a deep division between pro-European and right wing blocks and a lack of awareness on basic human rights and accountability of duty holders. Governments are ultimately responsible for human rights and democratic reforms. In transitional societies, however, like Serbia, the civil society is the driving force for the observance of human rights. They play a key role by continually monitoring the machinery of power, providing independent information and space for debate, as well as working to ensure that the state and its representatives take responsibility when mistakes are made. The majority of media outlets in Serbia are heavily controlled by political and business elites. There is a tendency to support policies of the current government uncritically, and to avoid coverage of issues that could politically damage the current holders of political power.

According to Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index for 2011-2012, Serbia is ranked 80 out of 179: “In a new and regular phenomenon since national independence, journalists have been the victims of reprisals for investigating the country’s criminal underworld and its growing influence in political and financial circles.”

For the full story see: http://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/campaigns/human-rights-defender-of-the-month/svenska-manadens-manniskorattsforsvarare-svetlana-lukic/