Calling on Press Freedom for Young Online Media-Makers

Today is World Press Freedom Day. A day to both celebrate the strides made in freedom of expression, as well as a day to reflect on its fragility. We at RNW Media are calling on decision-makers, citizens and young people to stand in solidarity with young media-makers across the world and defend press freedom

At RNW Media, we work with communities of online media-makers to produce locally owned content and engage with our young audience in their own language. These bloggers, vloggers and online content producers often share with us the challenges they face when producing their content, social and political sensitivities and restrictions and consequences they fear. This is why we decided to bring their missing voices to the table through the World Press Freedom Survey.

World Press Freedom Survey
RNW Media, together with the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO and the Netherlands UNESCO Youth Commission, designed a survey for all online media-makers with first-hand experience of producing content in restrictive settings. By online media-makers, we mean those in the media working on the periphery, with no official journalistic status and no association with media outlets. These alternative media communities almost never receive training on safety and security, neither are they protected by safety networks. Their needs are unknown and their rights are seldom included in international policy frameworks. Their voice is often absent in key international scenes unless they are world famous. It is time we widened our scope and acknowledged new forms of online journalism.

Preliminary Insights
In honour of World Press Freedom Day, we are providing a sneak peek into the preliminary analysis and results of the World Press Freedom Survey. The survey is still open as we gather more insights, but for now you can take a look at the World Press Freedom Survey: Preliminary Results here, based on the initial 63 responses. In this short report, we delve into the audiences that have been reached by the survey, the fears and consequences highlighted by media-makers, as well as the support for freedom of expression. Highlighted in the report is the support that can be offered to online media-makers by the international community through three main themes: advocacy & diplomacy, facilitation & media and capacity strengthening. We hope these insights will contribute to global understanding of alternative media communities and help create safe, enabling and inclusive online spaces for everyone.

If you are a young media maker working in a restrictive setting, we’re looking for your voice to contribute to our survey. You can take the World Press Freedom Survey here.