Media Freedom: The Struggle From the Front Lines

May 03, 2017
04:00 pm - 05:30 pm

About the Event

Media’s vital role in healthy, democratic societies is unquestionable–yet only a minority of the world’s citizens enjoy access to this fundamental resource. Freedom House reports that just 13 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with a free press, with hard-won gains in press freedom often being reversed in recent years. The fight for independent media has never been more urgent.

As we celebrated World Press Freedom Day, the Center for International Media Assistance and the International Forum for Democratic Studies heard from those who know the complex challenges facing press freedom best: the media professionals battling every day for the right to free and independent speech in illiberal settings around the world. Six current and former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows–joining us from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Kenya–discussed pressing challenges for the media in their home countries, why theirs is a fight worth fighting, and what can be done to help them succeed in promoting free press.


Nawaf Haskan, Yazidi journalist, cultural advisor, and a former translator for RYOT and the Huffington Post

Raul Peñaranda, journalist, author, and advocate for freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Bolivia

César Ricaurte, co-founder and executive director of the Andean Foundation for Social Observation and Study of the Media (FUNDAMEDIOS) based in Quito

Ashif Rabi, Bangladeshi journalist, TV personality, radio jockey, and blogger

James Smart, journalist, prime-time television anchor, and talk-show host based in Nairobi

Simegnish Mengesha (Lily), journalist, media consultant, and former director of the Ethiopian Environment Journalists Association


Shanthi Kalathil, Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy

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