Global press freedom snapshots
Both exciting and depressing stories (for world press freedom advocates) continue to emerge. Many still debate whether freedom is gaining or losing ground.
- Cuba’s digital newspaper: Cuba has a notorious reputation for restricting free speech. In response, dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez launched Cuba’s first digital newspaper in 2014. The Cuban government still blocks the newspaper.
- #SOSVenezuela: When protests broke out in Venezuela to oppose the government of President Nicolas Maduro, citizens took to social media. When Maduro made moves to suppress freedom of speech, including kicking out Colombian news station NTN 24, citizens depended on social media to be their news. University of Miami student Arianne Alcorta produced a documentary on the crisis in Venezuela all the way from Miami by gathering content from social media.
- Journalist arrests: At a time when freedom advocates hail activite citizen participation in the press, the world remains dangerous for journalists. An Egyptian court sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to prison on charges of reporting false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Jazeera insists there is no evidence to support the charges against them.
- Kidnapped in Donetsk: Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky was kidnapped by pro-Russian separatists in April 2014 in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk. According to the Guardian, the separatists kidnapped the reporter for spying, which Ostrovsky denies. After he was released he said his captors beat him but not to the extent that would lead to lasting physical damage.
- Fake reporters, real fury: In 2014, funnymen Seth Rogen and James Franco will star in The Interview, a film about two journalists who enter North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong Un. The dictator responded by calling the film “an act of war.”