Protesters demanding that Roman Protasevich be freed in Warsaw, Poland.
Protesters demanding that Roman Protasevich be freed in Warsaw, Poland. © Kuba Kaminski

IWPR's Frontline Update

28 May 2021

IWPR's Frontline Updates – unique insights from our network of local reporters and updates from our programmes.

Strengthening local media voices in transitional societies is always a challenge, especially in areas of conflict or “closed spaces” where freedom of expression is actively repressed. The challenge escalated alarmingly this week when Belarus grounded a civilian airplane in order to seize independent journalist Roman Pratasevich. As with Russia’s 2018 use of Novichok in Salisbury, the signal being sent is that nowhere is safe.

IWPR’s core work is to support just such vital independent voices. Amid this disturbing development, we are pleased to feature two stories from Belarusian reporters, including the response of the Belarus protest movement and fears among the diaspora.

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Meanwhile, IWPR continues to support a network of international research groups to track Chinese disinformation and “sharp power” across Asia and globally. IWPR project associate Charles Scanlon, a senior journalist formerly with the BBC, contributes an assessment of Beijing’s threat to Taiwan across the restive Pacific area.

Where possible, IWPR always seeks to work constructively with governments to increase the space for free voices. IWPR’s Central Asia Director Abakhon Sultonnazarov recently addressed a regional forum in Kazakstan to 
promote the democratic benefits of cooperation between media and civil society.
 
These are just some highlights from the work of IWPR teams, active in more than 30 countries around the world, strengthening local voices and helping them to drive positive change.
 
For more information, visit us at 
iwpr.net, or drop me a line. Do also consider supporting us directly; contributions make a critical difference in enabling our vital work around the world.

 

Anthony Borden

Anthony Borden
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


 

Fears Grow Among Belarusian Diaspora After Arrest

Calls for further sanctions as well as heightened protection for pro-democracy campaigners.

"What is happening is beyond comprehension. How can you, in 2021, in Europe, just hijack a plane, hijack a person?"

Svetlana
A PROTESTOR FROM WARSAW

Roman Protasevich during his public address from the detention facility in Minsk.
Roman Protasevich during his public address from the detention facility in Minsk.

Pressure Steps Up Over Belarus “Hijack”

Journalist’s arrest puts protest movement back on international agenda.

China: Threats Loom in the Pacific

Beijing believes an epochal struggle for mastery is already underway.

Figures of Kuomintang soldiers are seen in the foreground, with the Chinese city of Xiamen in the background, on February 04, 2021 in Lieyu, an outlying island of Kinmen that is the closest point between Taiwan and China.
Figures of Kuomintang soldiers are seen in the foreground, with the Chinese city of Xiamen in the background, on February 04, 2021 in Lieyu, an outlying island of Kinmen that is the closest point between Taiwan and China. © An Rong Xu/Getty Images

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SPOTLIGHT

World Press Freedom Day 2021

This year’s World Press Freedom Day highlights the importance of information as a public good, a theme of huge importance as the Covid-19 pandemic still grips the world and fake news and disinformation continue to harm health, human rights and democracy alike.

PROJECT FOCUS

Africa Resilience Network

The Africa Resilience Network programme is building a network of journalists, activists and analysts to identify and expose Covid-19 related disinformation in Kenya and Nigeria.

A mural advocating safety practices to curb the spread of Covid-19. April 29, 2020, Nairobi.
A mural advocating safety practices to curb the spread of Covid-19. April 29, 2020, Nairobi. © Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images
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