The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

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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.

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. (Mainul Islam/TNH)

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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

‘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.

‘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

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.’

‘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.’


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

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

CUBA — 173/180

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

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.’

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

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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