Freedom in the World 2021, an alarming report by Freedom House just released, recommends actions that support an independent free press to counter a rise in authoritarian governments.

The Alfred Friendly fellowship program trains journalists from countries where press freedoms are increasingly under attack. The graduates are committed to bolstering a free and independent press in their home countries through ethical, innovative, and influential reporting.

“Democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny,”  the Freedom House report asserts. “The countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006. The long democratic recession is deepening.”

The Freedom in the World report includes policy recommendations for democracies that include:

  • Support free and independent media, and protect access to information.

“Providing the public with access to fact-based information about current events is one of the best ways to combat authoritarian power…”

Please click this link and contribute to our nonprofit organization so we can train journalists to bring more light to the authoritarian darkness that threatens freedom around the world.

Former fellows — and future fellows — are working in the countries where the free and independent media is struggling or barely surviving.

India, the world’s most populous democracy, dropped from Free to Partly Free status in Freedom in the World 2021. “The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its state-level allies continued to crack down on critics,” the report said. “The ruling Hindu nationalist movement also encouraged the scapegoating of Muslims.”

Among the 15 former Fellows from India playing significant roles in the fight for a free press are freelancers Samarth Bansal, a master of deciphering important data, and Danish Raza, who focuses on human rights.

In Myanmar, where the military coup has stifled recent democratic advances, Saw Yan Naing became a BBC correspondent in Yangon after his fellowship and now trains young reporters there.

Former Fellows are working for global outlets Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and BBC, which help keep the world’s attention on home countries facing significant declines in freedom this year — China, Cambodia and Pakistan.

These are a few of many examples that demonstrate how our fellowship — with 330 program graduates since 1984 — continues to advance our mission to lift up journalism around the world.