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Press Freedom Isn’t Free

According to Freedom House, 2015 was the worst year for press freedom in over a decade, with only 13% of the world's population living in countries with a genuinely free press. But beyond dealing with state-imposed hurdles to journalism, reporters in closed societies also have another challenge: funding their work.

NEW YORK – Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is cracking down on Turkish civil society following the failed coup in July. Beyond purging thousands of military officers, judges, and educators, the government has issued arrest warrants for dozens of journalists, and shuttered more than 100 news agencies, publications, and radio and television stations.

The crackdown in Turkey is a major story, and it should make us appreciate the countless unsung reporters and editors worldwide who struggle every day to practice good journalism, no matter the stakes.

Two such journalists are Jean-Chrysostome Kijana and Wendy Funes. Kijana, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), edits and oversees eastern Congo’s first online newspaper, where he reports on the near-enslavement of the region’s miners and the violence of an ongoing insurgency. Funes, for her part, reports on human rights abuses, security, and corruption in Honduras – issues that the country’s beleaguered press often avoids.