GLOBAL JOURNALIST: Journalists discuss press freedom on World Press Freedom Day 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 6:13 p.m. CDT; updated 9:36 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 6, 2012

COLUMBIA — The "Global Journalist" broadcast celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 3 by inviting Jennifer Dunham, a research analyst at Freedom House, and Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, to evaluate press freedoms worldwide.

World Press Freedom Day, established by the UN General Assembly in 1993, serves to celebrate the principles of press freedom and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives because of their work. 

"Global Journalist" online asked media professionals around the world what changes they would like to see in press freedom for their countries.

Seun Akioye, a freelance journalist in Nigeria for Nigerian Compass and The Nation discussed the influence of Islamist group Boko Haram on Nigerian media. "Right now, the Nigerian media is under attack by an Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram," Akioye said. "I want to see a stop to these attacks on journalists. Media practitioners derive their powers directly from our constitution, and we must do it without fear or intimidation."

Meha Mathur, a consultant for Indo-Asian News Service in India, said in her country, "The problem is more of self-censorship, because in the last two decades a lot of corporates have joined the media bandwagon by becoming promoters or advertisers of media houses." 

Freedom House, a freedom advocacy group, recently published its "Freedom of the Press 2012" report. Of the 197 nations Freedom House assessed during 2011, 66 (33.5 percent) were rated "free," 72 (36.5 percent) were rated "partly free," and 59 (30 percent) were rated "not free." The analysis marked in increase from 2010 in countries rated "partly free" and a slight decrease in countries rated "free" and "not free."

The Committee to Protect Journalist published its list of the 10 most censored countries Wednesday. CPJ's analysis identified Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Equatorial Guinea as having the worst press freedom in the world.

Supervising editor is Frank Russell.

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