NEW JOINT PROJECT TO TRACK ATTACKS ON MEDIA FREEDOM DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Index on Censorship and Justice for Journalists Foundation announce a joint global initiative to monitor attacks and violations against the media, specific to the current coronavirus-related crisis.
Media freedom violations will be catalogued with a map hosted in Index’s current website and on the Justice for Journalists Media Risk Map.
According to Rachael Jolley, Editor-in-Chief, Index of Censorship: “In times of extraordinary crisis, governments often take the opportunity to roll back on personal freedoms and media freedom. The public’s right to know can be severely reduced with little democratic process. Index is already being alerted to attacks and violations against the media in the current coronavirus related crisis, as well as other alarming news pertaining to privacy and freedoms”.
“In our daily work in the post-Soviet region, Justice for Journalists Foundation experts and partners come across grave violations of media freedom and media workers’ human rights. Today, we are witnessing how the corrupt governments and businessmen in many of the regional autocracies are abusing the current limitations of public scrutiny. This major decrease in civil liberties makes pursuing their interests easier and even less transparent, whereas media workers striving to unveil murky practices are facing more risks than ever before”, said Maria Ordzhonikidze.
Index draws on its experience running other mapping projects to enable easy comparisons of media violations in each country, and also so data can be collated and discussed when the global crisis is over.
Justice for Journalists Foundation will contribute to this monitoring effort by expanding cooperation with its existing regional partners who provide data and analysis for the series of Media Threats and Attacks Reports in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The overall goal of the project is threefold: to increase awareness about the importance of media freedom and the existing state of press freedom at this particular point in history, to support journalists whose work is being impeded, by highlighting the challenges they face to an international audience and to continue to improve media freedom globally in the long run.