“I am still alive. I am one of the lucky journalists.”
That’s what Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Global Editor Maidstone Mulenga told the roughly 100 international journalists, students and teachers gathered at the United Nation of Rochester’s Freedom of the Press: A Global Crisis earlier this week held at The College at Brockport’s Metro Center.
Maidstone was a journalist in Zambia, and he and his family were threatened because of a story he had written. The government wanted to know his source. He said his story is not unique, and said that according to World Press Freedom Day, 673 journalists were arrested in 2008. Even worse, 70 journalists were killed. So far this year, 31 journalists have been killed and 30 journalists are missing worldwide, he said.
“Each time freedom of press is threatened, all other human rights are threatened,” he said.
He urged the audience to take action. He mentioned that when he visits journalists in Africa and sees them waiting in line to use the one computer available for them to follow reports, he wishes people would realize that they could help with freedom of the press by donating computers and technology or by giving a little money to support the families of imprisoned journalists, families often left destitute because the family bread-winner cannot work.
Some of the organizations that try to help international journalists and work to ensure a free press include:
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange
- International Center for Journalists
The United Nations Association of Rochester (N.Y.) has hosted international journalists from the UN Reham Al Farra Memorial Journalists Programme for 27 years. This week’s event, which included journalists from the U.N. program, was co-sponsored by The College at Brockport Department of Communication, Nothnagle Realtors and the United Nations Department of Information.
If you would like to help Maidstone’s efforts, you can contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.