How Russia’s ‘foreign agents’ law silences dissent

Harassment and censorship of independent media and government critics is common in the Russian Federation. A so-called “foreign agents” law, passed in 2012 and repeatedly expanded, allows the Justice Ministry to label groups or individuals “foreign agents,” exposing them to fines and harassment that stymie their work. In July, Russian authorities prosecuted  human rights advocate Semyon Simonov , who exposed ...
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Acting Assistant Secretary Reeker’s Meeting with Advocates for Media Freedom in Georgia

Threats to media freedom not only interfere with the rights of journalists, but with the rights of the public to access information. Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Reeker arrived in Tbilisi last night, beginning a one-week visit to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. This morning, he met with advocates for media freedom ...
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U.S. calls on the Kremlin to end crackdown on press freedom

By  Leigh Hartman Russian authorities raided student magazine Doxa on April 14, arresting four editors and ransacking their homes. The students’ alleged crime? Reporting on university administrators’ attempts to intimidate students protesting in support of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny. The students’ arrest is the latest in the Kremlin’s ongoing crackdown on free and independent media ...
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Why freedom of the press is important [video]

Freedom of the press is an essential right in the United States and a core principle of democracy. Protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,  a free press helps maintain the balance of power in government . Numerous journalists worldwide have been killed while working to fulfill their essential role in free and open societies. Watch this video to learn more about how other ...
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Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela strike out against free speech

Free speech for Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans is under attack by their respective governments. “Freedom of expression is a human right,” Secretary of State  Michael R. Pompeo said on Twitter  on November 24. “The United States stands with Cuba’s people.” In  Cuba , the Castro regime arrested musician Denis Solís González on November 9 and sentenced him to eight months in prison ...
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Promoting human rights is essential to U.S. policy

In the 80 years since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his  Four Freedoms speech  — citing freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear — the United States has made these democratic principles central to its foreign policy. Today, the United States continues to champion human rights as a critical component of U.S. ...
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Democracies condemn Beijing’s continued crackdown in Hong Kong

By Leigh Hartman Democratic nations are faulting the Chinese Communist Party’s disqualification of four democratically elected legislators in Hong Kong. The governments of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom call the CCP’s November 11 disqualification of the lawmakers a “clear breach” of the regime’s international obligations and commitment to uphold Hong Kong’s ...
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The truth behind China’s forced confessions

By Leigh Hartman The Chinese Communist Party forces critics and activists to publicly confess to crimes before trial, violating Chinese and international law, rights groups say. In a  recent report to the United Nations  (PDF, 1MB), groups including Safeguard Defenders and Human Rights Watch say the CCP forces critics into confessions that are then aired on state-run television, making a mockery of due ...
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As fraudulent election nears, Maduro cracks down on journalists

Ahead of the unconstitutional and fraudulent  December 6 parliamentary elections  in Venezuela, the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on journalists. The Venezuelan constitution protects freedom of expression, forbids censorship and guarantees access to information. However, Venezuela has fallen 31 places since 2014 in the  World Press Freedom Index  — ranking 147 out of 180 countries — thanks to Maduro’s attacks ...
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China’s air pollution harms its citizens and the world

The People’s Republic of China is the world’s leading annual emitter of greenhouse gases and mercury. This noxious air pollution threatens China’s people, as well as global health and the world’s economy. An estimated 1.24 million people died from exposure to air pollution in the PRC in 2017, according to a recent study in the ...
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China’s pattern of human rights abuse continues

Zhang Jialong, a former journalist and anti-censorship activist, faced trial in China in May after criticizing the Chinese government on Twitter. Chinese authorities reportedly charged Zhang with “ picking quarrels  and provoking trouble.” He is just the latest victim of the Chinese Communist Party’s continued detention of reporters, lawyers and human rights activists as part of the ...
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The spirited history of presidential debates

American debates have changed much since the days when an Illinois lawyer held the nation spellbound with his moral arguments against slavery. That was 1858, and the arguments of Abraham Lincoln, who was debating Stephen Douglas, didn’t lead to Lincoln’s winning the Senate seat he sought. Nevertheless, transcripts were distributed throughout the country and became ...
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Cuba’s ‘outrageous’ bid to join the U.N. Human Rights Council

In spite of its dismal record on human rights, Cuba’s government is seeking a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2021–2023 term. “It’s outrageous that the Human Rights Council would offer to seat Cuba, a brutal dictatorship that  traffics its own doctors  under the guise of humanitarian missions,” Secretary of State Michael R.  Pompeo said  on August ...
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Iran’s regime targets critics’ relatives to silence dissent

By ShareAmerica Iran’s regime is jailing relatives of political activists in an effort to silence critics at home and abroad, human rights advocacy groups say. The regime in July sentenced Alireza Alinejad, the brother of prominent regime critic Masih Alinejad, to eight years in prison on trumped up charges, according to the Center for Human Rights ...
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Chinese media: Press or propagandists? (July 7)

Chinese media: Press or propagandists? (July 7)   Chinese state-run news organizations would like the world to think that they are independent and trustworthy. They are not. Many of these outlets work to spread  Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda  around the world, and their employees effectively work for the Chinese Communist Party. That was the conclusion of Secretary of State ...
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America’s free press offers diverse views on protests (June 29)

America’s free press offers diverse views on protests (June 29)   The right to a free press is one of America’s most cherished liberties, fostering a wide-ranging discussion among citizens. When demonstrators in U.S. cities protested the May 25 death of George Floyd and other instances of police officers’ use of excessive force, America’s editors ...
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Amid COVID-19, reporters still face persecution in China, Iran, and Venezuela (May 8)

Amid COVID-19, reporters still face persecution in China, Iran, and Venezuela (May 8)   Countries that were ranked low in the latest  World Press Freedom Index  were also among the most likely to suppress reporting about COVID-19. The index is compiled annually by Reporters Without Borders, an international nongovernmental organization that monitors media freedom around the world. It was ...
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World Press Freedom Day (May 2)

World Press Freedom Day (May 2) MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On World Press Freedom Day, recognized around the world on May 3, we highlight the critical role of independent media in facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas so vital to free, prosperous, and secure democratic societies. This year, as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, it is ...
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Want democracy? Keep the press free and active (April 29)

Want democracy? Keep the press free and active (April 29)   A strong democracy encourages a free press — one that keeps the public informed, enables a diversity of voices, and holds leaders accountable. There’s so much news around us — on the internet, television and radio and in newspapers — it’s easy to forget ...
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