The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) expresses alarm at the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the conviction of Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Rey Santos Jr on trumped-up charges of cyber libel.

Their conviction in 2020 stemmed from a cyber libel case on a Rappler article published on May 29, 2012, almost five months before the cybercrime law was enacted on October 3. The Department of Justice under then-president Rodrigo Duterte, however, ruled that the story had been updated and remained posted as of Feb. 14, 2014, and approved the filing of charges in 2019.

The court also lengthened the jail time to up to six years, eight months and 20 days or an additional eight months in denying Ressa’s appeal.

After the court decision, Ressa and Rappler experienced an “info ops/mob,” as part of the continuing online hate she has received following Rappler’s critical reporting of the former president’s war on drugs and Duterte openly attacking Ressa and Rappler.

The court’s decision comes over a week after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission issued a revocation order against Rappler, one of the many legal cases and harassment Rappler endured during the term of Duterte. Both disturbing decisions were released between Duterte’s last day in office and the first few days of the new president, son of dictator, and press freedom killer Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The international media watchdog group, Reporters without Borders, has called Duterte a press freedom “predator.”

The recent developments in Ressa and Rappler’s cases add to growing concerns over press freedom in the Philippines.

Marcos Jr.’s win has raised concerns about the future of media in the country, where journalists were barred from interviewing or covering or roughhoused during his campaign sorties. Marcos Jr. refused to join election debates and only allowed interviews from selected media houses to answer selected questions.

Before the term of Duterte’s appointed officials ended with him, the former National Security Adviser ordered the blocking of independent media websites Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly. (Read related statement from IAWRT Philippines here:https://www.facebook.com/Iawrtphil/posts/5463518523707291)

Ressa rightly said that the danger that her and Rappler’s experiences pose if you’re a Filipino is that “this could happen to you, too.” And this could happen anywhere in the world where people keep silent as institutions are being used to silence journalists.

IAWRT will continue to support Maria Ressa, Rappler, journalists, and media outfits that continue to pursue the truth but are persecuted for it.

IAWRT PH Stands with the Independent Media

This is appalling. Yet, if this is meant to send shock waves to the independent media, malign and silence them, goodness, the intent is failing.

National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered the immediate blocking of independent media websites such as bulatlat.com and pinoyweekly.org on the basis of an opinion that these outfits are terrorist-affiliated or supporting terrorist organizations.

Plain and simple, red-tagging is media repression.

Independent media, also known as alternative media, have always stood their ground and even complement the dominant media in bringing information to the public to make informed decisions. Operating for service and not for profit, they are fearless in raising controversial issues and hold government leaders accountable for their actions.

Hence it is not surprising that they are often at odds with government officials. But the recent blocking is carrying red-tagging to another level of recklessness and irresponsibility that brutally attacks press freedom and the right of the public to know.

As expected, bulatlat.com and pinoyweekly.org did not take this sitting down and immediately denounced this act despite threats to their profession and their security, even.

Likewise, this recent attempt at muzzling the independent press, carried out in blitzkrieg fashion, has only resulted in media people holding each other’s back in defense of press freedom and gaining broader support from the public.

In this regard, the Philippine chapter of IAWRT (International Association of Women in Radio and Television) stands solidly behind, and in solidarity, with the independent media. It also calls on Secretary Esperon to rescind his order.#

[Several IAWRT Philippines members work with Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.]

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is outraged at the fatal shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, who worked for the Al Jazeera network. She was killed in the occupied West Bank during an Israeli army raid in Jenin, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and despite wearing a jacket clearly identifying her as “Press.” Her producer was also wounded.

Such an act is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and violates the United Nations Security Council resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists.

We are gratified to learn the United Nations Human Rights Organization is verifying facts on the ground, and we join the chorus of those expressing sorrow and alarm and demand a thorough, independent investigation into these alleged crimes.

1009 nobel prize

Fellow journalists and press freedom and freedom of expression and information take the spotlight at this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

 

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television congratulates fellow journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov who jointly won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

 

The Nobel committee awarded this prestigious peace prize to journalists from the Philippines and Russia for their ‘efforts to safeguard freedom of expression’. This, the Norwegian Nobel Committee also deems, is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.

 

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee. 

 

The award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (US $1.14 million)

 

The recognition comes at a time when journalists are increasingly at risk the world over, especially female journalists in Afghanistan and many other hot spots. 

 

Co-founder of Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose growing authoritarianism in the Philippines. 

 

Dmitry Muratov, on the other hand, is a Russian journalist who founded the Novaya Gazeta, a news agency that is critical in its reporting and has served as its editor-in-chief since 1995.

 

IAWRT hopes this award becomes an opportunity for fellow press freedom advocates to hold the line and engage governments to protect a free press and to uphold people’s right to know.

 

IAWRT World Press Freedom Day statement 2021

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television gathered for an online protest on World Press Freedom Day 2021 to respond to so many human rights violations worldwide that put the lives of journalists at risk.

Our network has not been exempted from these violations. Here are some inhumane acts that some of our members have experienced

·       On December 10, 2020, journalist and IAWRT member Malalai Maiwand, and her driver, were killed in Afghanistan.

·       On the same day, Lady Ann Salem, our Communications Officer was arrested on possession of firearms and explosives trumped up charges. After almost three months, she was released after the court dismissed the charges as baseless and inconsistent.

·       Journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, IAWRT Philippines member is still in jail since February 7, 2020, arrested in a similar fashion and detained on similar charges as Icy was.

·       Several IAWRT members are working in countries reeling from war or grappling with the pandemic, both conditions have impeded or have been consciously used to restrict their duty of finding out and reporting the truth

With the steep rise in the attacks on journalists and a weakening in regulations protecting freedom of expression, indeed, women journalists and media workers, are in a very difficult situation.

The harassment of journalists not only affects media practitioners but shortchanges citizens who depend on the media to provide a critical service in society – denying people to access to truth which is a very sad reality.

A recent study by UNESCO, on online violence against women journalists, also shows that the majority of women journalists surveyed had experienced online violence relating to their work. Online violence against women journalists is used to silence independent voices, spread disinformation and undercut fact-based journalism.

In addition, more than 1,000 journalists have died due to COVID-19 according to the Press Emblem Campaign in April this year. Many of these deaths came as a result of a lack of protective equipment and unsafe working practices.

We stand with these struggles of journalists especially women journalists who, at the same time, continue to fight for their piece of airtime, for their spot in newsroom leadership and for women’s voices to be heard. We would also like to recognize the work that they have done and been doing as women journalists-truth tellers.

IAWRT joins all journalists and media workers from all over the world, to call for urgent measures to counter continuing threats and crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We pray for the day when journalists are reporting the news and not making the news, for COVID-safe newsrooms, and general safe environments for media practitioners.

https://fb.watch/co72Q4buHd/

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IAWRT World Press Freedom Day statement 2021

 

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television gathered for an online protest on World Press Freedom Day 2021 to respond to so many human rights violations worldwide that put the lives of journalists at risk.

 

 

 

 

Our network has not been exempted from these violations. Here are some inhumane acts that some of our members have experienced

 

·       On December 10, 2020, journalist and IAWRT member Malalai Maiwand, and her driver, were killed in Afghanistan.

·       On the same day, Lady Ann Salem, our Communications Officer was arrested on possession of firearms and explosives trumped up charges. After almost three months, she was released after the court dismissed the charges as baseless and inconsistent.

·       Journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, IAWRT Philippines member is still in jail since February 7, 2020, arrested in a similar fashion and detained on similar charges as Icy was.

·       Several IAWRT members are working in countries reeling from war or grappling with the pandemic, both conditions have impeded or have been consciously used to restrict their duty of finding out and reporting the truth

 

With the steep rise in the attacks on journalists and a weakening in regulations protecting freedom of expression, indeed, women journalists and media workers, are in a very difficult situation.

 

The harassment of journalists not only affects media practitioners but shortchanges citizens who depend on the media to provide a critical service in society – denying people to access to truth which is a very sad reality.

 

A recent study by UNESCO, on online violence against women journalists, also shows that the majority of women journalists surveyed had experienced online violence relating to their work. Online violence against women journalists is used to silence independent voices, spread disinformation and undercut fact-based journalism.

 

In addition, more than 1,000 journalists have died due to COVID-19 according to the Press Emblem Campaign in April this year. Many of these deaths came as a result of a lack of protective equipment and unsafe working practices.

 

We stand with these struggles of journalists especially women journalists who, at the same time, continue to fight for their piece of airtime, for their spot in newsroom leadership and for women’s voices to be heard. We would also like to recognize the work that they have done and been doing as women journalists-truth tellers.

 

IAWRT joins all journalists and media workers from all over the world, to call for urgent measures to counter continuing threats and crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

We pray for the day when journalists are reporting the news and not making the news, for COVID-safe newsrooms, and general safe environments for media practitioners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan calling for a peaceful transition of power with respect to the rights of everyone, especially women and girls.

IAWRT calls upon the international community to ensure that the rights of women and girls are respected, with special regard to women journalists and media professionals.

Threats and attacks against women journalists and media professionals, including our colleagues and fellow members in Afghanistan, have increased sharply in recent months since the withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there is a long list of journalists who have received death threats, driving many underground or to leave the country altogether. 

The declining security situation poses a serious threat to the achievements of the last two decades regarding freedom of expression and threatens to push back decades of hard-won progress for women and girls who are now terrified of a return to a repressive past under the Taliban. 

“There are many journalists and female social activists whose lives hang in the balance and whose stories may never be told as the Taliban takes over – once again. These are the brave women who challenged the status quo fighting for fundamental rights, but have been left behind while terror strikes,” says IAWRT President Violet Gonda.

IAWRT, therefore, calls on the following:

  • The current leadership must guarantee the safety of women journalists, media professionals, and activists in Afghanistan.
  • Women’s organizations around the world should join in solidarity to call for the freedom of women journalists, media professionals, and activists in Afghanistan.
  • The international community should immediately facilitate visas for Afghan journalists and media professionals, especially women and their families including elderly dependents and minor children.
  • In light of the rapidly deteriorating situation at the airport and in the city, there should be protection provided for Afghan civilians being airlifted – from their homes till they reach the airport terminal building.
  • The international community must continue its engagement in brokering peace in Afghanistan.
Malalai Maiwand

 

IAWRT strongly condemns the brutal shooting of Malalai Maiwand and her driver in Afghanistan & the arrest of IAWRT’s Communication Officer Lady Ann Salem, in the Philippines

IAWRT strongly condemns the brutal shooting of Malalai Maiwand and her driver in Afghanistan

Malalai Maiwand was a 26 year old reporter at Enikass Radio and TV in Nangarhar in Afghanistan, renowned for her fight for women’s and children’s rights. She was a member of AWRT, affiliated with IAWRT. Malalai was shot by a gunman in Nengarhar Province in Afghanistan this morning. She was an active member of AWRT and other civil society groups and had been under threat for some time.

Maiwand is the second journalist killed in Afghanistan since mid-November. On November 12 Alyas Dayee was killed in a bomb blast in Helmand province. IAWRT demands that the authorities in Afghanistan investigate the murders of Malalai Maiwand and Alyas Dayee. 

 

IAWRT also strongly condemns the arrest of IAWRT Communications Officer, Lady Ann Salem, in the Philippines

Lady Ann Salem (known as Icy), who is journalist and also the editor of an alternative media outlet, Manila Today was arrested from her home on the morning of December 10 on unknown charges. 

Icy’s colleagues learned of a raid in her Mandaluyong house at 9:00 AM. Hours later Salem was found at the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group facility of the Philippines police.

It is especially devastating that both the murder of Malalai Maiwand and the arrest of Lady Ann Salem happened on International Human Rights Day.

Icy was taken to court on Friday and is being charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The media outlet she works for, Manila Today was red-tagged (blacklisting as either a Communist or terrorist group, or both, by the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict – NTF-ELCAC).

Outside the Mandaluyong court, Icy told the media that the evidence was planted during the raid on her home.

Another IAWRT member from the Philippines, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who was arrested in Tacloban City in February on similar carges, based on ‘evidence’ found in a raid, is still in detention. 

IAWRT says the Philippine government must immediately release Lady Ann Salem and Frenchie Mae Cumpio, as well as investigate disappearances and wanton arrests of journalists and put an end to the harassment of all journalists and human rights defenders.  

“Instead of being the storytellers, journalists are fast becoming the story – being arrested, abducted, assaulted, and killed,” says IAWRT President Violet Gonda. 

“It’s normal for journalists to be the voice of the voiceless, but who is the voice for targeted journalists? Journalists can’t breathe! It is shocking that on the last day of UN Women’s 16 days of Activism against Gender based Violence we received the tragic news that our IAWRT members have been killed and arrested for just being journalists”. 

“It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that newsrooms and the communities in which journalists work, are safe spaces. The role of the State is to promote democracy, peace and good governance. This means allowing dissenting voices to be heard” she concluded.

 

 

IAWRT IDEVAW Statement 2020

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is one with the global community in the observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on November 25, also the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (from November 25 to December 10).

 

Violence against women is one of the most widespread and enduring human rights violations in the world today. It also remains largely unreported due to the stigma and shame surrounding it, contributing to impunity while impunity itself is among the reasons for unreported cases.

 

The United Nations noted how all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering this to be the Shadow Pandemic.

 

We stress our calls to end attacks against journalists, especially women and even our own IAWRT members around the world, some of whom have been at the receiving end of layoffs, assaults or arrests during coverage assignments, and/or online harassment during the lockdown in the months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

IAWRT is fully committed to its vision of a world where women have an equal voice and space in media and its objective of enhancement of women’s role and participation in media, as gender equality cannot be achieved without gender parity in media and communication. But these also cannot be realized, not even partially, when violence against women persist with impunity.

 

We encourage women journalists to continue to speak out against violence against women, to call for redress, justice and accountability from authorities, to give voice to survivors and victims and to contribute in any way so there can be a safer world for women.

1102 iawrt idei web image logo

In this year of the Covid-19 pandemic, journalists had to overcome new or deepening threats to press freedom, freedom of expression, their personal safety and safety at work.

IAWRT statement on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2020

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) joins the observance of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2020.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic saw a time when there were attacks on journalists covering the #BlackLivesMatter protests and other political events in the US, clamping down on protests and people’s right to dissent in social media and other platforms in extension of Covid-19 restrictions that various countries imposed, health hazards while covering the pandemic and the resulting job losses and closures in the media industry owing to a period that a large portion of the world was on lockdown.

 

These were all on top of the longtime problem of journalist attacks and killings, and the emerging problem of gender-based online harassment of journalists.

 

According to the research and data of the Committee to Protect Journalists, there have been 1,387 journalists killed between 1992 to 2020, among them 97 women journalists. This year, there have been 22 journalists killed, while 248 were imprisoned in 2019 and 64 are missing globally. Most of these cases have yet to bring the perpetrators and masterminds to justice. CPJ noted that killers go free in 8 of 10 cases of journalists murders, which is why it is important that we, along with the public, observe the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

 

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI). The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

 

While we lament the dire situation of journalists in the world, we also celebrate small wins such as the repeal of criminal libel in Sierra Leone and hope and fight for more reforms to allow journalists to work unhindered. On the one hand, we continue to call for justice and decry the guilty verdict in the cyberlibel case of Maria Ressa in the Philippines, that was based on an antiquated law pre-dating the cyberlibel law and other more recent jurisprudence in the country.

 

Fellow IAWRT Philippines members have also been slapped with cases of libel during the pandemic, red-tagged as a prelude to further harassment, arrested based on search warrants yielding ‘planted evidence’ and one of them, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, remains in jail since February. Another community journalist, Elena Tijamo, was abducted by suspected state agents while her town was on lockdown and remains missing since June 13. We call on the release of Frenchie and all other journalists wrongly detained or only detained because of their line of work. We call for Elena to be surfaced, along with all other missing or disappeared journalists globally.

 

Violence against journalists and their media outfits are a threat and a violation of press freedom and freedom of expression and an offence against democracy, while the killing of a journalist is the ultimate form of censorship. On this day, we remember fellow women journalists who were murdered* and continue to call for justice and continue our fight for press freedom.

 

Gabrielle Marian Hulsen

Karmela Sojanovic

Aysel Malkac

María Carlin Fernández

Ilaria Alpi

Lissy Schmidt

Winifrida Mukamana

Yasmina Drici

Rachida Hammadi

Malika Sabour

Naïma Hammouda

Yasmina Brikh

Saïda Djebaili

Khadija Dahmani

Nadezhda Chaikova

Nina Yefimova

Veronica Guerin

Larisa Yudina

Amparo Leonor Jiménez Pallares

Maria Grazia Cutuli

Natalya Skryl

Zahra Kazemi

Nadia Nasrat

María José Bravo

Kate Peyton

Raeda Wazzan

Marlene Garcia-Esperat

Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla

Relangi Selvarajah

Hind Ismail

Atwar Bahjat

Maricel Vigo

Ogulsapar Muradova

Karen Fischer

Anna Politkovskaya

Naqshin Hamma Rashid

Luma al-Karkhi

Khamail Khalaf

Zakia Zaki

Sahar Hussein Ali al-Haydari

Sarwa Abdul-Wahab

Uma Singh

Anastasiya Baburova

Natalya Estemirova

Marites Cablitas

Lea Dalmacio

Gina Dela Cruz

Marife “Neneng” Montaño

Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro

Marie Colvin

Regina Martínez Pérez

Ghislaine Dupont

Nawras al-Nuaimi

Wassan Al-Azzawi

Rubylita Garcia

Elsa Cayat

Randa George

Dalia Marko

Flor Alba Núñez Vargas

Hindia Haji Mohamed

Sagal Salad Osman

Miroslava Breach Velducea

Gauri Lankesh

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real

Maharram Durrani

Wendi Winters

Norma Sarabia Garduza

Maria Elena Ferral Hernández

 

 

*Committee to Protect Journalists data on murdered women journalists from 1992 to 2020.