International Director’s Blog

Two journalists’ deaths in Europe are a symptom that the rule of law is failing

The killing of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a remote-controlled car bomb explosion near her home in Malta last October and the mafia execution-style killing of anti-corruption reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova in Slovakia in February have exposed what critics see as a ‘climate of impunity’ that protects powerful figures from facing justice in the courts for crimes that threaten the fabric of democracy.

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A media view of the Commonwealth summit: too much self-praise and not enough open democracy

Proposals which were described as ‘important and timely’ were submitted for the attention of Commonwealth leaders by an expert Working Group for a new ‘code’ on media-government relations, but they were ignored in the final Communique. Even so, foreign ministers from the organisation’s 53 member states meeting in London heard powerful appeals for the Commonwealth to do more to protect media independence and the lives of journalists who face threats and acts of violence for their work.

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Poland, cradle of a democratic revolution, again a frontline in the fight for press freedom

Gdansk is a bitter-sweet symbol of Poland’s fight against tyranny back in the time of Lech Walesa. The three tall metal crosses erected over the Gdansk shipyard  recall the heady days in 1980 when Solidarity, the East bloc’s first free trade union, triumphed in a trial of strength against the then communist government. Nine years later the Berlin Wall came down and the eastern half of Europe was on the march to freedom.

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Two thoughts on Nick Robinson’s plea for a re-think on journalism

Nick Robinson told some awkward truths about Britain’s broadcasting media in the inaugural Steve Hewlett Lecture on Thursday: above all the need for them to up their game by defending impartiality and engaging ‘dissident’ voices. He captured the excitement and confusion of the great debate about ‘whose side the media is on’ which comes from the mainstream media swimming in the same ocean of facts, half-facts and ‘alt facts’ as all comers in the era of the Internet, smart phone and self-broadcasting apps like Periscope.

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Press freedom watchers see threats from enemies within

In advance of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, Reporters Without Borders has published its 2017 World Press Freedom Index. In RWB’s assessment, almost across the board, countries known as democracies have fallen back in press freedom terms because of the negative impact of laws, regulations and cases of criminalising journalism: among them the US, the UK, Canada, Poland and Hungary.

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