To celebrate World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, UNESCO and the Government of Uruguay are hosting a three-day conference this week on freedom of expression in the digital age, journalists’ safety, and information and privacy access.
With the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege”, this year’s conference focuses on what new surveillance methods and advances in artificial intelligence mean for journalism, expression, and privacy around the world.
“We all must do more to address the risks and seize the opportunities of the digital age,” Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said. “On this World Press Freedom Day, I invite member states, technology companies, the media community, as well as the rest of civil society to come together to develop a new digital configuration – one that protects both journalism and journalists."
To mark the day, here's a collection of articles by The New Humanitarian showcasing the work of journalists – many of them local – who continue to report important stories and amplify marginalised voices despite the restrictions and dangers they face. Alongside each country is its ranking on an index of journalistic freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – 180 being the least free.
MYANMAR — 176/180
How Romida and Hafsa are pushing for change in the Rohingya refugee camps – while holding on to the hope of returning home.
‘I take photos of our refugee lives to tell the world how we are surviving.’
PALESTINE — 170/180
‘We are starting to lose hope that we will ever have a home again.’
‘The challenge we face when trying to rescue people is a lack of resources.’
AFGHANISTAN — 156/180
‘The whole system to fight GBV was destroyed.’
‘The Taliban are trying to turn women back. But it’s the Afghan women who are not the same.’
SYRIA — 171/180
‘We stopped washing ourselves... because my kids developed skin rashes and were covered in red spots.’
YEMEN — 169/180
‘People are staying and waiting for an unknown future.’
CUBA — 173/180
‘The government would prefer to control all relief efforts, but they don’t have the capacity.’
IRAQ — 172/180
‘We are afraid of only one thing really, and that is the Turkish military.’
‘I escaped to save my life, and suddenly the name al-Hol equals Islamic State.’
VENEZUELA — 159/180
‘We are stuck in Venezuela without a job and trying to survive on the little money we had saved.’