News organizations take a stand for most threatened journalists

The newly established One Free Press Coalition will spotlight reporters who have been jailed, threatened, or attacked. The killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 drives part of the urgency behind this global initiative.

Thein Zaw/AP/File
Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo (c.) addresses reporters as he leaves the court in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sept. 3, 2018. Mr. Kyaw Soe Oo is one of the journalists whose case will be spotlighted by the newly established One Free Press Coalition, made up of more than a dozen global news organizations.

A coalition of more than a dozen global news organizations, including The Associated Press, The Financial Times and Reuters, will spotlight the world's most threatened journalists in a new freedom of speech initiative, the group announced Friday in New York.

Members of the One Free Press Coalition will publish on their platforms each month a "10 Most Urgent" list of journalists who have been jailed, threatened or attacked for their work.

The group's mission is to use the voices of its members to "stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth," the organization said.

Among the first group of journalists the coalition is spotlighting are the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in October 2018 by Saudi agents at the country's consulate in Istanbul, and Maria Ressa, the founder of the news site Rappler who has faced arrest and legal threats in the Philippines.

AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee praised the effort as a way to bring attention to "the vital cause of reporting without harassment or threat."

"Journalism is under attack around the world," Buzbee said. "We believe journalists must be permitted to pursue facts fearlessly for the greater good of society and democracy, and we are happy that the One Free Press Coalition will join us in that fight."

Other coalition members include EURACTIV, Forbes, HuffPost, Le Temps, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Time, Wired, and Yahoo News.

The importance of a free press is seen daily around the world, especially in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes, said Wolfgang Krach, Sueddeutsche Zeitung editor-in-chief.

"Intimidation, violence, incendiary speech against journalists and preventing reporters from doing their jobs are crucial issues for our profession in these times," Mr. Krach said.

The group's reach, including online and on social media, will allow it to signal its solidarity for journalism colleagues and simultaneously tell those who threaten free speech that they are being watched, said Randall Lane, Forbes' chief content officer who championed the concept of the coalition at a meeting of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum.

"With the One Free Press Coalition, we are shining an enduring light from all corners of the globe on our fellow journalists who are being persecuted, punished or worse in the pursuit of truth," Mr. Lane said.

Other coalition partners include the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women's Media Foundation.

The other journalists whose stories are being highlighted Friday are:

• Eman Al Nafjan, a women's rights blogger who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
• Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, journalists for Reuters who have been imprisoned in Myanmar.
• Claudia Duque, a Colombian investigative reporter who has been attacked and harassed for her work.
• Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, a blogger who has been imprisoned in Mauritania.
• Anna Nimiriano, the editor of the Juba Monitor newspaper in South Sudan who has faced repeated threats of arrest.
• Pelin Unker, a Turkish journalist who wrote about the Paradise Papers investigation who has been jailed.
• Thomas Awah Junior, a correspondent for Afrik 2 Radio and publisher of Aghem Messenger magazine who has been imprisoned in Cameroon.
• Tran Thi Nga, a Vietnamese human rights blogger who has been sentenced on charges of "spreading propaganda."

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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