World Press Freedom Day 2016
On World Press Freedom day 2016, Front Line Defenders is calling for an end to the harassment, intimidation and attacks suffered by human rights defenders fighting for their communities. From professional journalists to community leaders and bloggers, all rights advocates persecuted for exercising their freedom of expression to demand their communities' rights be respected are critical components of civil society.
To defend freedom of expression around the world, we must protect those who exercise that right in defense of others. On World Press Freedom Day 2016, here are 6 human rights defenders persecuted for bravely demanding rights for their communities:
CESAR ESTRADA, PERU
Cesar Estrada Chuquilin is a journalist and member of the Red de Comunicadores Indigenas del Perú – REDCIP (Network of Indigenous Communicators in Peru). He has reported on several human rights violations concerning land disputes in the region and environmental issues related to the Conga Mining Project in the region of Cajamarca. In September 2015 Cesar survived an assassination attempt. He has also suffered severe persecution, intimidation, defamation, harassment, threats, attacks and thefts as a result of his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
SHAIKHA BINJASIM, KUWAIT
Ms Shaikha Binjasim is a Kuwaiti human rights defender, writer and professor of philosophy at Kuwait University. She has been advocating on social media for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech in Kuwait. On 14 April 2016 she appeared before the public prosecutor, who charged her with blasphemy and humiliating the religion of the State for having declared in a television interview on the Kuwaiti channel Al-Shahed, that the constitution of Kuwait is above the Quran and Shari'a.
KANAK MANI DIXIT, NEPAL
Kanak Mani Dixit is a well-known journalist and human rights defender actively promoting the establishment of a democratic and secular government in Nepal. On 22 April 2016, Mr Lok Man Singh Karki, chairman of the Commission of Investigation on Abuse of Authority (CIAA), ordered his arrest. In 2013, Kanak Mani Dixit had published several articles criticising the appointment of Lok Man Singh Karki as Chairman, who had been found guilty of committing a series of brutal human rights violations when he was serving as Chief Secretary of the government.
WANG JING, CHINA
Wang Jing is a citizen journalist who, amongst other reporting, has contributed articles to 64Tianwang, an independent human rights website operating in mainland China. On 24 April 2016 she was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison, for providing information about a self-immolation attempt which she witnessed in Tiananmen Square in March 2014. She was accused of sending pictures of the self-immolation to websites abroad, circulating them on social media and giving interviews to overseas media. It was also alleged that she reported on incidents where police had harassed, beaten and detained protesters and that such reports were defamatory.
FAISAL MOHAMED SALIH, SUDAN
Faisal Mohamed Salih is a prominent Sudanese human rights journalist. He has extensively written about human rights abuses and government repression in Sudan, and also works on the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. On 25 March 2016, security agents from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) prevented him from traveling from Khartoum International Airport to London. His passport was confiscated without any information being provided as to whether it shall be returned to him.
ELENA MILASHINA, RUSSIA
Elena Milashina is a human rights defender and an investigative journalist working for Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper. Through her research and reports she has drawn international attention to the Russian government’s crackdown on civil society, as well as gross human rights abuses continuing in the Northern Caucasus. On 16 March 2016, the Ombudsman of the Chechen Republic announced that he had requested the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation to initiate a criminal case against Ms Elena Milashina. She was accused of spreading false information, for an article where she described an attempt by the Chechen police to abduct a member of the human rights organisation “Committee for Prevention of Torture” on 22 February 2016.