#FollowFriday: Journalists in Distress

Friday, July 12, 2013

By Spencer Livingstone

#FollowFriday is an opportunity for CJFE to showcase individuals and groups doing important work in the field of free expression. Please note that certain follow recommendations are not wholesale endorsements of all of an individual’s or organization’s positions.

In light of CJFE’s recent article on the difficulties of securing asylum faced by journalists in distress, we would like to point anyone interested towards further sources of information on refugee journalists. A refugee is someone who has been forced out of their native country due to situations at home – which could include war, natural disasters, or persecution. They often do so with their entire family, without any money or possessions, and in great need of assistance. While every refugee needs help in some way, CJFE is particularly concerned with journalists who are forced to flee from their homes directly as a result of their work.

There are a number of organizations that work to provide support to journalists in flight. Since much of their work revolves around donations from the public, most do everything that they can to keep their websites and Twitter frequently updated with the latest news about refugees for the public. Here are a few Twitter handles that might be of interest to those who want to learn more about displaced journalists.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

-CPJ is a worldwide organization that advocates for and reports on harmed journalists, denouncing press freedom violations and working towards justice for injured or killed journalists. They cover all regions, keeping their website and Twitter frequently updated with the ongoing events and difficulties that journalists face. CPJ has specific website pages and many Tweets containing information about journalists in exile.

Follow CPJ on Twitter @pressfreedom.

Front Line Defenders (FLD)

-Founded in 2001, Front Line Defenders seeks to protect human rights defenders based on that which is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Due to the danger they face in their jobs, refugee journalists are often the recipients of FLD’s rapid and practical support. On Twitter, Front Line Defenders is active in providing news articles and current events regarding threatened human rights defenders, which feature refugee journalists all too frequently.

Follow FLD on Twitter @FrontLineHRD

Kassahun Yilma

-In 2009, many of the editors and reporters that worked at Addis Neger, a highly-respected newspaper in Ethiopia, were forced to flee the country after the government shut down the paper threatened its journalists with charges of terrorism. Among those who fled was Kassahun Yilma. Now a graduate of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and an international reporter living in New York, Yilma reports, primarily on his Twitter page, on foreign affairs, focusing on refugee occurrences in Africa. Even when he does not report on refugee movements or events, his story is still a fascinating look at the difficulties that refugees face in their relocation.

Follow Kassahun Yilma on Twitter @kassahunY.

House of Journalists

-House of Journalists attempts to combat the mistreatment of journalists through making their stories known to the public as well as they can. They also seek to protect journalists who face persecution as a result of their work in exposing tyranny or issues in the public interest. House of Journalists’ Twitter account contains some of the most up to date information on exiled and threatened journalists as soon as the news becomes available.

Follow House of Journalists on Twitter @JournalistHouse.