According to the World Press Freedom Index, journalism is totally blocked or impeded in 73 nations and constrained in 59 others. But every year, on May 3, the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day. How does NordVPN support social causes like journalism and free speech?
May 03, 2021 · 3 min read
After liberation from colonialism in the 60s, many African countries faced a long and bumpy road to democracy. Independent free journalism in Africa was very rare throughout much of the 20th Century. On May 3, 1991, a statement on press freedom was produced at a UNESCO seminar in Windhoek, Namibia, by African newspaper journalists.
The Windhoek Declaration is considered to be the first document of its kind in the world. It shaped the principles of the free media and how it should be protected from any political interference. Since 1993, May 3 has been celebrated as World Press Freedom Day.
This day serves as a reminder of ongoing press freedom violations and of the imperative for governments to support journalism. Unfortunately, in many countries journalists are still being censored, and face imprisonment or worse.
While some countries have laws protecting freedom of speech, in many cases those principles are adopted only to please the international community. Let’s take a look at a few recent examples.
Iran is not the only country censoring pandemic-related news. There are no reported COVID-19 cases in North Korea and Turkmenistan, and their governments are suspected of hiding information about the virus.
Journalists living in restrictive regimes face various obstacles, prohibiting them from doing their work and spreading information to the public. Governments often limit the free press, block social media platforms, rig elections, and keep journalists under surveillance.
For many journalists, a VPN is a vital tool when reporting human rights violations and fighting for democracy. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and masks your IP address. That means no one can spy on your online activity. Here’s how a VPN benefits journalists:
Writing an article criticizing the government in Iran or Turkmenistan could send a local journalist to prison for years, and even put their life in danger. The risk is always high, but a VPN can add a layer of additional protection. NordVPN even has obfuscated servers designed for heavily restricted environments.
The NordVPN team believes in press freedoms, human rights, and social change. That’s why we've has partnered with organizations like AccessNow, Amnesty International, European Journalism Center, and others to promote press freedoms.
In 2020, we donated 175 Emergency VPN subscriptions to journalists. Most of them were investigating protests in Hong Kong and needed a secure tool to help them communicate, avoid surveillance, and bypass Beijing’s internet restrictions. Over 1150 VPN licenses were donated to various organizations and initiatives across the world.
There was plenty going on in the rest of the world too. Mexico-based Defensores de la Democracia (The Defenders of Democracy) preserves investigations by Mexican journalists that lost their lives because of their work. The group has been targeted with phishing and DDoS attacks, but using NordVPN can help them to securely access the resources they need, and avoid hackers.
World Press Freedom Day invites us to remember those fighting for the better tomorrow. While there are plenty of governments that don’t respect democratic values, there are always some dedicated people ready to defend them. At NordVPN, we stand in solidarity with those heroes.
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