A new law adopted by the Mexican Congress regarding the protection of human rights defenders and journalists signifies an opportunity for Mexico's government to deliver on its promise to adequately protect journalists, which the previous mechanism failed to do. Freedom House welcomes the new law and calls upon the Mexican government to ensure that it receives proper funding and broad political support, as well as the swift passage of enabling legislation to ensure proper implementation.
The Middle East and North Africa saw dramatic if precarious gains in press freedom in 2011, and for the first time in eight years, global media freedom did not experience an overall decline, according to a Freedom House report released today. However, due to downgrades in some previously free countries, the percentage of the world’s population living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.
The recent attack by protesters against staff of the Wataniya National Television Station in Tunisia, including the stabbing of journalist Walid Hamraoui, is a troubling indication of the deteriorating climate for media and the urgent need for greater government protection of journalists. The violence comes just one week before Tunisia is scheduled to host a series of events for the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
The Egyptian government’s announcement that it intends to review and potentially cancel the licenses of 8 foreign NGOs, including the Carter Center, is another escalation of its crackdown on civil society and raises a red flag regarding its intention to conduct a free and fair presidential election in May.
Freedom House deplores the brutal attack on Lukpan Akmedyarov, a prominent Kazakhstani journalist known for his outspoken criticism of local and national authorities, and urges the government of Kazakhstan to swiftly and thoroughly investigate the attack and bring all involved to justice.
Freedom House is deeply concerned by news of a violent attack on journalist Yelena Milashina of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and calls on the Russian authorities to investigate the attack and quickly bring to justice those responsible. A Freedom House employee, Ella Asoyan, was also injured in the attack.
A delegation from Freedom House, a human rights watchdog based in Washington, DC, returned to Ukraine this week to assess the state of democracy and human rights in the country. The delegation, which published an assessment entitled "Sounding the Alarm: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine" 14 months ago, will issue a new report in June with recommendations.