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Rogue Journalism: From Iran to Refugee Camps

What do you do when you have the manpower, the brainpower, and the news itself, but you don’t have the right to print? These journalists–one reporting out of a heavily censored country and the other from a country where the refugee residents have no rights–got around the government barriers to create functional and even sophisticated news outlets.

T.P. Mishra is the President of the Third World Media Network and the editor of the Bhutan New Service. In his new online series for Media Helping Media, he is outlining how refugees can start their own media organizations from their refugee camps. Because these temporary camps often become permanent homes where many end up spending the majority of their lives, the need for schools and other community fundamentals arises. But with out any rights in the country you call home, the task becomes even more difficult.

And if you want to fill an information void but can’t be on the ground, Kelly Golnoush Niknejad explains in Foreign Policy how she managed to start a remote news bureau in Tehran.

To be based in Tehran means to constantly be censored and to self censor just to ensure you will be able to remain in the country, according to Niknejad. “You are likely to have to work with a semiofficial minder or show your articles to an agent from the intelligence ministry before it is published,” says Niknejad. “I was once offered access to any official I wanted, if I were willing to submit. I declined.”

What might have saved Niknejad’s Tehran Bureau is that from the beginning, her and her classmate from Columbia decided that they would not become a purely oppositional outlet. Instead of becoming an underground news source read in small circles, they sought interviews from those with varying political opinions and even attempted to get official accreditation.

Like Niknejad, Mishra also attempted to follow the law as much as possible. In fact, his first rule is to know the country’s laws. And as he goes on to explain, to know which ones need to be followed.

From India to Indonesia: Positive News in the World of Journalism

In the never ending fight for freedom of the press, the small successes that occur every day across the globe can be easy to overlook. Today, while keeping in mind the struggles everywhere from Iran and Iraq to China and North Korea, we decided to highlight those instances where good journalism is rewarded and steps are being taken to improve the freedom of the press.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, radio station KBR68H embraces discussion of tough topics relating to
religious tolerance, human rights, and the environment. Celebrating its 10th year of broadcasting, the station has just been awarded the International Development Prize from the The King Baudouin Foundation for “contribution to the strengthening of democracy, tolerance and citizen participation” according to Media Helping Media.

The station’s founder and managing director accepted the award from King of Belgium at a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Brussels. “In these countries, where poverty and lack of education hamper development, there is a need for the media to also act as a tool for public education, as well as providing a platform for civic participation in public life,” he said.

While broadcasting to 650 radio stations across 10 countries in Asia, KBR68H founded the Indonesian Association for Media Development to train more qualified media professionals. The company is also working to further expand their coverage to more remote areas of Indonesia that are lacking in information and to get the local people there involved in the process.

In New Delhi, India, the launch of a new international media institute has been announced. The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is teeming with local Indian journalists to launch the non-profit educational center. The top editors of India will work with journalists to encourage quality reporting of print, broadcast, and interactive media stories.

The program comes at a time when both the media and overall economy are growing exponentially. “More than ever, we need trained, ethical journalists to meet the rigorous standards that the public expects of an exalted profession and a growing industry,” says Tarun Basu, chief editor of the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).

According to IFCJ, the school will encourage coverage of economic and social issues that are often ignored by the mass media.