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A reading list for World Press Freedom Day

A collection of articles showcasing the work of journalists who face reporting restrictions and dangers around the globe.

Mainul Islam/TNH
A woman carries home a heavy bag of rations. Rohingya receive rations at distribution centres, then bring them back to their shelters deep inside the camps.

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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

An illustration of Romida, left, and Hafsa, right. The Rohingya women have lived in Bangladesh’s refugee camps since a military purge forced them from their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017.
TNH
An illustration of Romida, left, and Hafsa, right. The Rohingya women have lived in Bangladesh’s refugee camps since a military purge forced them from their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017.

‘I am a leader of my house’

How Romida and Hafsa are pushing for change in the Rohingya refugee camps – while holding on to the hope of returning home.

Rohingya girls peer through a newly constructed fence in the camps. Some say that the government-built fencing around parts of the refugee camps may have made it harder to escape a March 2021 fire that displaced tens of thousands of people.
Omal Khair/TNH
Rohingya girls peer through a newly constructed fence in the camps. Some say that the government-built fencing around parts of the refugee camps may have made it harder to escape a March 2021 fire that displaced tens of thousands of people.

‘Telling our own stories’: Rohingya lives, through a camera lens

‘I take photos of our refugee lives to tell the world how we are surviving.’

PALESTINE — 170/180

Mohamed Asad/TNH
Khaled Nasser’s home (on the right) and his cousin’s home (left) in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, two days after it was hit in May 2021.

One year on from Israel’s bombardment, Gazans still await help to rebuild

‘We are starting to lose hope that we will ever have a home again.’

Two medics dressed in green uniforms stand in front of demolished buildings with their backs to the camera.
Mohammed Zaanoun/TNH
First responders survey the damage at a collapsed building in Gaza.

‘I’ve never seen scenes as ugly’: Treating Gaza’s wounded

‘The challenge we face when trying to rescue people is a lack of resources.’

AFGHANISTAN — 156/180

Sara Cuevas/TNH

Protections for women facing violence have vanished under the Taliban

‘The whole system to fight GBV was destroyed.’

Aaila, 37, drives around Bamiyan in her white Toyota. When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, Aaila took to the streets in her car. She says she wanted to show that she would continue to stand up for her rights.
Sara Perria/TNH
Aaila, 37, drives around Bamiyan in her white Toyota. When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, Aaila took to the streets in her car. She says she wanted to show that she would continue to stand up for her rights.

For this Afghan woman, taking the wheel is a protest

‘The Taliban are trying to turn women back. But it’s the Afghan women who are not the same.’

SYRIA — 171/180

Trucks carrying water from the countryside at the entrance to Hassakeh city, in northeast Syria.
Daniela Sala/TNH
Trucks carrying water from the countryside at the entrance to Hassakeh city, in northeast Syria.

Conflict and climate change collide: Why northeast Syria is running dry

‘We stopped washing ourselves... because my kids developed skin rashes and were covered in red spots.’

YEMEN — 169/180

Displaced Yemenis leave a Marib camp where they had been sheltering after it was hit by a rocket in late December 2021.
Nabil Alawzari/TNH
Displaced Yemenis leave a Marib camp where they had been sheltering after it was hit by a rocket in late December 2021.

‘I will not leave my family to die here’: A photojournalist in Yemen’s Marib

‘People are staying and waiting for an unknown future.’

CUBA — 173/180

A Havana mural depicts two socialist icons: Hugo Chávez and Che Guevara. However, for many Cubans, the country’s social justice plan now appears to have run its course, with shortages of basic goods and medicines having hit the population hard.
Natalia Favre/TNH
A Havana mural depicts two socialist icons: Hugo Chávez and Che Guevara. However, for many Cubans, the country’s social justice plan now appears to have run its course, with shortages of basic goods and medicines having hit the population hard.

As Cubans’ needs mount, grassroots groups step in

‘The government would prefer to control all relief efforts, but they don’t have the capacity.’

IRAQ — 172/180

A poster commemorating a slain YBS soldier on a bombed-out building in Sinjar town.
TNH
A poster commemorating a slain YBS soldier on a bombed-out building in Sinjar town.

In Iraq’s Sinjar, Yazidi returns crawl to a halt amid fears of Turkish airstrikes

‘We are afraid of only one thing really, and that is the Turkish military.’

Two Iraqi children pull a cart through the market in al-Hol camp, which lies east of al-Hasakeh city, in northeastern Syria.
Hogir Al Abdo/TNH
Two Iraqi children pull a cart through the market in al-Hol camp, which lies east of al-Hasakeh city, in northeastern Syria.

Inside the troubled repatriation of Iraqis from Syria’s al-Hol camp

‘I escaped to save my life, and suddenly the name al-Hol equals Islamic State.’

VENEZUELA — 159/180

People stand gathered under a shelter
Lincoln Holder/Newsday/REUTERS
Many Venezuelan migrants make repeated trips to Trinidad and Tobago even if they are deported, like this group praying together on their return, in Erin Bay, 24 November, 2020.

As desperation grows, Venezuelans look to a dangerous Caribbean escape route

‘We are stuck in Venezuela without a job and trying to survive on the little money we had saved.’

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