Eleven international news organisations have joined a coalition to use their collective reach of 1bn people to “stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth”.
The Financial Times, Huffpost, Reuters, Associated Press and Yahoo News are among the inaugural members of One Free Press Coalition.
The group described itself as a “united front of prominent editors and reporters using the significant reach of their editorial and social platforms to spotlight journalists who are under attack”.
Forbes, Time, Belgian newspaper De Standaard, European news website EURACTIV, Swiss daily Le Temps and German title Süddesutsche Zeitung have also joined the group.
On the first of each month, every title in the coalition will publish a list of the ten “most urgent” cases of journalists whose press freedom rights are being abused or whose cases demand justice around the world.
The first list, published today, is as follows (in no specific order):
- Maria Ressa (pictured), founder of Rappler, The Philippines
- Jamal Khashoggi, the late Washington Post columnist, Saudi Arabia
- Eman Al Nafjan, prominent women’s rights blogger, Saudi Arabia
- Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters, Myanmar
- Claudia Duque, a veteran investigative reporter, Colombia
- Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, prominent blogger, Mauritania
- Anna Nimiriano, editor of Juba Monitor, South Sudan
- Pelin Unker, Cumhuriyet, Turkey
- Thomas Awah Junior, correspondent for Afrik 2 Radio and publisher of Aghem Messenger, Cameroon
- Tran Thi Nga, prominent human rights blogger, Vietnam
The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation have joined the coalition as partners and will help identify the most urgent cases for the list to be updated each month.
Forbes chief content officer Randall Lane initiated the concept at a meeting of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
He said in a statement: “With the One Free Press Coalition, we are shining an enduring light from all corners of the globe on our fellow journalists who are being persecuted, punished or worse in the pursuit of truth.
“Our founding members include news organisations who collectively reach more than 1bn people worldwide, and we encourage other outlets to join us in standing up for those whose voices have been threatened, silenced or are being silenced.
“Together, our reach online and on social will signal solidarity for our colleagues and simultaneously tell those who threaten free speech that we are watching.”
Peter Spiegel, news editor of the Financial Times, said: “At its best, journalism puts emerging issues in the spotlight and exposes wrongdoing by people in positions of power.
“Highlighting the fate of fellow reporters who have suffered because they have done that is both critical in the current international environment and an important act of journalism in its own right.”
Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo feature on the list. They recently lost an appeal against a seven-year prison sentence after they were found guilty of breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act.
The news agency said in a statement: “Reuters is committed to principles of fair, independent and impartial journalism and we feel strongly that a free press is vital to any democracy.
“We look forward to working with the One Free Press Coalition in raising awareness of the repression of journalists – including our own reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been imprisoned for more than a year in Myanmar – and highlighting the importance of press freedom around the world.”
Le Temps co-editors in chief Stephane Benoit-Godet and Gael Hurlimann said they had been “deeply affected” by the murder of their Slovak colleague Jan Kuciak, who worked within the same media group: Ringier Axel Springer.
A businessman was charged yesterday with ordering the murder of investigative reporter Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, who were found dead with gunshot wounds in their home one year ago.
Benoit-Godet and Hurlimann said: “Followed with repeated tensions in regions where the freedom of press seemed to be established, we feel the need of combatting censorship and repression on journalists all around the world and to support colleagues working in difficult environments.”
News organisations from around the world are invited to join the coalition. Send enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture: Reuters/Eloisa Lopez