UNESCO World Press Freedom Day
A conference celebrating UNESCO’s 2011 World Press Freedom Day was held on May 1-3 at the Newseum and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It was the first time that the celebration was held in the United States. NED’s Center for International Media Assistance, the U.S. Department of State, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation organized the three-day conference entitled “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.”
Sessions focused on social media, digital media, and press freedom. Participants included Elena Milashina, investigative journalist at Novaya Gazeta in Russia; Kavi Chongkittavorn, assistant group editor at the National Media Group and publisher of the Nation in Thailand; and Eric Newton of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The opening ceremony featured speeches by Bette Bao Lord of the Newseum’s Board of Trustees; Carl Gershman of NED; Judith McHale, U.S. under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs; and Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO.
At the closing ceremony, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was awarded in absentia to imprisoned Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi, a former editor-in-chief of the Azad newspaper and contributor to the Tehran-based daily Hamshahari, the BBC Persian service, and the Persian/English news site Rooz.
Tibetans Elect New Prime Minister
In election results announced on April 27, Lobsang Sangay was chosen to be prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. He won 55 percent of the vote in the March 20 election. Sangay, until recently a research fellow at [End Page 183] Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Program, is the author of an article entitled “Tibet: Exiles’ Journey” published in the July 2003 issue of the Journal.
Statement by Cuban Independent Trade Union Coalition
On May 1, the Independent Trade Union Coalition of Cuba issued a declaration reaffirming its commitment to “the values of democracy and civil society, rule of law, political pluralism, strict observance of human rights, values and freedoms guaranteed in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The coalition called on Cuban workers to join independent unions, to demand that their unions defend them, and to demand their right to self-employment. For the Spanish text of the declaration, please see: www.cubasindical.org/docs/coaliccion1demayo.pdf.
Citizen Lab Receives Canadian Press Freedom Award
On May 3, the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom awarded its 13th Press Freedom Award to Citizen Lab, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory that focuses on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media, global security, and human rights. The Lab partners with research networks such as the Information Warfare Monitor, the OpenNet Initiative, OpenNet Eurasia, and Opennet.Asia.
Citizen Lab director Ronald Deibert and senior research advisor Rafal Rohozinski coauthored an article entitled “Liberation vs. Control: The Future of Cyberspace” that was published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal.
Due to an editorial oversight, Mohammad El-Momani, one of the coauthors of the April 2011 Journal article “Jordan Votes: Election or Selection?,” was not listed in the byline of the piece (with Ellen Lust and Sami Hourani). The Journal of Democracy regrets the error.
NED’s International Forum
On April 14-15, the Forum cosponsored a conference with the Brookings Institution entitled “Foreign Policies of Emerging Market Democracies: What Role for Democracy and Human Rights?” The conference featured panels on the record of India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, and South Korea in advancing human rights and democracy.
The concluding panel, which focused on the “Implications for the Future of Democracy and International Politics,” included Thomas Carothers and Moisés Naím of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Robert [End Page 184] Kagan of the Brookings Institution. The keynote address was delivered by Samantha Power of the U.S. National Security Council. A report on the meeting is available at: www.ned.org/events/foreign-policies-of-emerging-market-democracies-what-role-for-democracy-and-human-rights. Some of the conference papers will be published in the October issue of the Journal.
On June 7, the Forum, together with the Korea Institute for National Unification, organized a conference on “Democracy Assistance for North Korea.” Further details will be provided in the October issue of the Journal.
The Forum hosted several luncheon meetings this spring featuring Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows:
On May 12, Rafael Marques de Morais, an award-winning Angolan journalist and writer with a special interest in political economy and human rights, spoke on “Corruption in Angola: An Impediment to Democracy.” Peter M. Lewis, associate professor and director of the African studies program at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, commented.
On May 26, Mykola Riabchuk, senior research fellow at the Ukrainian Center for Cultural Studies in Kyiv and cofounder and member of the editorial board of Krytyka, a leading Ukrainian intellectual magazine, gave a presentation entitled “Ukraine’s Convoluted Transition: Between Dysfunctional Democracy and Unconsolidated Authoritarianism.” Nadia Diuk, vice-president for Africa, Latin America, and Eurasia programs at NED, offered comments.
On June 2, Luis Carlos Ugalde, an academic who is a former Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies at Harvard University and who served as president of Mexico’s Federal Electoral Commission from 2003 to 2007, gave a presentation on “The 2012 Mexican Elections: A New Test for Democracy.” Santiago Levy Algazi, vice president for sectors and knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank, commented.
On June 8, H. Kwasi Prempeh, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he teaches courses in comparative constitutional law, and a member of the board of directors of the Accra-based Ghana Center for Democratic Development, spoke on “How (Not) to Write an African Constitution: Reflections on Ghana’s Current Constitutional Review.” Larry Diamond, director of Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, offered comments.
On June 9, Medha Nanivadekar, director of the Center for Women’s Studies at Shivaji University in Kolhapur, India, and the president of Bharatiya Stree Shakti, an Indian women’s organization, gave a talk entitled “Making Gender Quotas Work: A Case for Doubling the Seats in the Indian Parliament.” Karen O’Connor, Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science at American University, commented. [End Page 185]