Category Archives: freedom

world press freedom day.

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World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, May 3rd  is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

After almost 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. May 3rd acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“a free press can, of course, be good or bad,

but, most certainly without freedom,

the press will never be anything but bad.”

-albert camus

 

 

 

image credit: brittanica.com

tide.

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“I know how difficult it is going to be,

but I also believe that if just in one place we can win the battle over greed and callousness,

that one victory may swing the tide over the entire world.”

-Madeleine L’Engle, Dragons in the Waters

art credit: Serhii Vasylkivsky, a.k.a. the “Painter of the Sky”, National Art Museum of Ukraine

stars and stripes.

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The designer of our current 50-star flag was Robert Heft. It was 1958 and there was some talk that Alaska and Hawaii were going to officially become states 49 and 50. One of his high school teachers capitalized on the current events of the day and had his students design a new flag incorporating the two new states. Inspired by Betsy Ross, (and cutting up his parents’ flag), Heft did just that, arranging the stars so it wasn’t very evident that he had added any. His teacher gave him a B-, saying that the design was unoriginal. When Heft balked at the grade, his teacher told him that if he could get the flag adopted by Congress, he would bump the grade up to an A. Heft jumped at the opportunity, sent the flag to his congressman, and after a long campaign and a refusal to give up,  he ended up getting the flag approved. Heft got his ‘A’ as promised. Since then, Heft’s original homemade flag has flown over every single state capitol building, over 88 U.S. embassies, and over the White House for five administrations. He is now deceased, but has left behind a design with 51 stars ready to go if the need arises.

 

happy 4th of july!

 

 

 

credits: mental floss, quora, wiki, readers digest

gates.

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Mexican journalist freed by ICE, joins University of Michigan as fellow

 After being detained at an immigrant detention center for nearly eight months, Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto will join the 2018-19 Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists class at the University of Michigan. Gutierrez, who will be a Senior Press Freedom Fellow at Wallace House, and his son, Oscar, were freed July 26 from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Texas.

“With so many challenges to press freedom, and in the midst of a crisis around immigration policy, it is easy to feel powerless,” said Knight-Wallace Fellowship director Lynette Clemetson, who met with Gutierrez in April at the El Paso, Texas detention facility to invite him to join the program. “Emilio’s release, due to the efforts of many, is a reminder that we all can do something to effect change.”

Gutierrez and his son were released a day before a federal judge’s deadline for U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials to produce documents explaining why the journalist was detained. Though Gutierrez was released by ICE, he has not been granted asylum, National Press Club Freedom Fellow Kathy Kiely said.

“We’re extremely happy, but there was no settlement agreement reached,” Kiely said. “We have been talking to the government about settling the case and discussing the terms of the settlement, but they never responded to that. In the end, they didn’t agree to anything, they just released him.  On July 10, the judge issued an order citing constitutional protections of free speech and press freedom in raising concerns about immigration officials’ treatment of Gutierrez.

In 2017, an immigration judge in El Paso denied Gutierrez’s asylum request and he was scheduled for deportation. The deportation was halted after protests from numerous journalism organizations including The National Press Club, Reporters Without Borders and the American Society of News Editors.

Gutierrez entered the country 10 years ago seeking asylum after his reporting on corruption in his home country made him the target of death threats. He and his son had been held in an ICE detention facility near El Paso, Texas since December. He was previously denied asylum and is still in the process of scheduling an appeal.

“He did everything that the immigration officials say refugees should do,” Kiely said. “He came in through a port of entry, he declared himself, asked for asylum, he’s gone to every immigration check-in. Why are they spending so much of our taxpayer resources if he’s not a bad guy?” While Gutierrez’s asylum status remains unclear, plans are moving forward for him to be a part of the fellowship at UM in the fall, Kiely said.

“Wallace House, the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor community are eager to receive Gutierrez and his son as the family works to resume their life in the U.S. and Gutierrez has the opportunity to reconnect with journalism,” Clemetson said.

The Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists is one of several organizations that signed amicus briefs organized by The National Press Club in support of Gutierrez’s case. While at UM, Gutierrez will study issues related to global press freedom and safety.

“it is useless to close the gates against ideas: they overlap them.”

-klemens von metternich

 

 

 

 credits: martin slagder, ann arbor news, m-live, reporters without borders

nobody’s free until everybody’s free. – fannie lou hammer

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found these two down the street

guess the price was too high

even with

that stripy, ratty love seat

thrown in as a bonus.

he who loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back.

– henri matisse