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Best of GMF 2014

Web regulation vs. free media

The human rights organization Reporters Without Borders teams up with Deutsche Welle for this year’s Global Media Forum

Christian Mihr

Christian Mihr

I’m helping my country by telling the world the truth about what’s happening in my homeland,” says Rula Asad, a Syrian journalist living in exile in Germany. “The German chapter of Reporters Without Borders has supported me and my work significantly by helping me to stay in Germany, where I can continue practicing my profession.“

Asad is a recent example of how Reporters Without Borders works in Germany. Through targeted campaigns and long-term educational work, the non-profit organization draws public attention to violations of freedom of the press. This year it is partnering with Deutsche Welle at the Global Media Forum. On July 1, 2014, the German chapter of Reporters Without Borders will host a workshop entitled “Participation and journalistic ethics” to explore the fine line between making information public, active participation in events and ethical issues. Christian Mihr, director of the international organization’s German section, says the subject is highly political. “Reporters Without Borders has long advocated regulating the export of digital surveillance technologies,” he told Deutsche Welle. Digital media have revolutionized news reporting, he continued, and they have become an indispensible part of journalists’ lives. “But in the hands of dictators, they can be ruthlessly misused as tools for monitoring individuals.” He points out that German high-tech companies are among those that have played directly into the hands of authoritarian regimes, such as Bahrain and Syria. Mihr says that he and his organization welcome the chance to “shed some light on this shadowy side of the export economy at the 2014 Global Media Forum.”

Founded in 1985 by a small group of journalists in Montpellier, France, Reporters Without Borders has grown into a major human rights organization, with a network of more than 150 correspondents spanning the globe. Its nine sections and three offices in various countries are devoted to preserving freedom of expression and freedom of the press by researching and documenting violations of human rights, and supporting persecuted journalists and media. Since 1994 its international headquarters has been located in Paris. The German chapter is based in Berlin. Reporters Without Borders is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with consultant status at the Council of Europe, the United Nations, and UNESCO. With this year’s theme “From Information to Participation – Challenges for the Media”, the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum provides an ideal platform for Reporters Without Borders to present its views on this very current topic and engage in discussions with conference participants.

Global website: http://en.rsf.org

German chapter: www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de