On World Press Freedom Day... Message from Skyline International Director
Today we celebrate the fundamental principle of press freedom to commemorate the hard work of journalists and reporters around the world, who often put their lives at risk to bring us the most up to date information and reports. Today, it is also a day to remind us of the circumstances under which many professionals have to work nowadays. They suffer persecution, incarceration, torture and even death. All these attacks for acting independently, and exercising one of the most basic principles of human rights, the right to express themselves freely. Unfortunately this is the situation of journalist in many countries such as the Middle East and North Africa; a region that is considered to be one of the most dangerous parts of the world to work as a journalist.
Reporters, bloggers and ordinary citizens have all lost their lives, are facing detention, are being harass or detained and even executed without fair trial. They are putting their lives on the line to bring us the latest information about conflicts and many political-social issues crucial for these communities; reporting that could save lives in countries such as Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Libya, Morocco and Algeria among others.
For instance, in 2018 we learned how a Saudi journalist and free thinker was brutally murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi should be a reminder to all of us of the dangers of working as a journalist in the MENA region, where publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down. Additionally, bloggers, editors, and publishers are being also harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
We must not forget that these professionals face countless challenges and obstacles as their daily routine just for trying to bring us the latest in world affairs. For these reason, journalists and ‘citizen reporters’ are trying to fill the gap or deficit of information through social media and other online outlets, when state institutions and non-state actors such as militias and radical extremist groups are trying to cover up the truth.
Professional and socially responsible journalism is doing a great social service that benefits all the community. Without reporters, it would be impossible to navigate the sea of information which we are exposed to every day and to differentiate between fake news and facts, between accurate reporting and propaganda. Today more than ever, we must be thankful and feel fortunate for having such committed professionals, while realizing that without free journalists, editors, and publishers a healthy and modern society it’s impossible.
Skyline not only recognizes the work of this amazing professionals on this date but also supports their crucial work on the ground. Skyline is working hard to expose these abuses and violations by gathering information, producing articles, and publishing reports that hopefully will become another useful tool for journalist and reporters around the MENA region to expose and discover the truth.
Daniel F. Rivera, Skyline Director, on May 3, 2020.