Afghan media workers and their families are in dire peril following the Taliban’s overthrow of the national government in August 2021. At least seven journalists have been killed since the Taliban takeover, with many more suffering intensifying threats, harassment, intimidation and violence. As many as 257 media outlets have shuttered and, according to research conducted by the Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU), at least 67% of journalists and media workers have been rendered jobless. On November 21, the Taliban announced new restrictions on the media in Afghanistan with several edicts exclusively targeting women journalists and media workers.
Through the Media Safety & Solidarity Fund, MEAA is working with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to provide emergency financial support to for Afghan women media workers and their families so they can find safe houses in Afghanistan, or assistance with evacuation and relocation to new countries.
Please help raise funds for the Afghan Women Journalists Appeal by making a small donation to the Media Safety & Solidarity Fund – click on the DONATE button above.
UPDATE – The appeal has raised more than $US100,000 to the end of November 2021. The MSSF is currently processing applications and dispersing funds to provide emergency assistance for accommodations, flights, family support etc. The assistance goes to aiding women journalists and their families in country as well as those that have fled Afghanistan. The MSSF is still seeking funds to support Afghan women journalists – please donate if you can.
N.B. MSSF notes that the situation in Afghanistan is volatile, and circumstances may suddenly change. The MSSF and the International Federation of Journalists will review the operations of the fund to ensure the needs of the women and their families are met.
The fund trustees direct the International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific to implement projects to be funded by the MSSF. The fund’s trustees are Karen Percy, MEAA Media section’s federal president; the two national MEAA Media vice-presidents, Leigh Tonkin and Erin Delahunty; two MEAA Media federal councillors, Stefan Armbruster and Kathy McLeish; and Brent Edwards representing New Zealand’s journalists’ union, the E tū, which also supports the fund.
Aside from contributions made by MEAA members as a result of enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations, the other main fundraising activities of the fund are the annual Press Freedom Australia dinners, auctions and raffles; and the gala presentation dinner for the annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism. In 2014 and again in 2015, Japan’s public broadcasting union Nipporo also made contributions to the fund.
During the year, the Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV) sought personal protective equipment for Vanuatu journalists so that they could continue to report and keep their communities informed of essential news and information in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MSSF provided $500 towards the purchase of 100 face masks from Mamma’s Laef, a local charity producing reusable face masks, providing support for a local business given the loss of tourism that had devastated the Vanuatu economy.
In 2022, MEAA via MSSF provided financial and other assistance to 25 TV journalists at EMTV in Papua New Guinea. On February 25, 2022, MEAA’s National Media Section committee condemned the termination of the journalists who walked off the job in support of a colleague, amid allegations EMTV had engaged in intimidation and political interference. The committee resolved: “MEAA stands in solidarity with the journalists.” MEAA called on EMTV executive management to reinstate the journalists on full pay and guarantee EMTV’s editorial independence.
Since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, independent journalism there has been forced underground. Journalists have been beaten and shot, at least 85 have been arrested, more than 40 detained and several jailed for up to three years. Independent media outlets have been stripped of their licences to operate, and dozens of warrants have been issued for the arrest of other journalists.
Burmese journalists are in hiding not only in Myanmar but elsewhere in the region, seeking safety from persecution and violence. However, Thailand has just sentenced three Burmese journalists to seven months jail and fined them for entering the country.
Despite all these risks, Burmese journalists courageously continue to work underground in Myanmar or Thailand to ensure the crimes of the military junta are revealed to the rest of the world.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance is working with the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand to provide emergency financial support to exiled Burmese journalists working on the Thai-Burma border. Please help with a small donation through the Media Safety & Solidarity Fund.
The annual highlight of the Nepal Children’s Education Fund was a three-day summer camp. About 30 children are assisted through the program, which was established in 2010 to help the children of journalists who have been killed since the transition to democracy began in 2005. To date, this financial support has been $181,472 (including administration fees paid to the International Federation of Journalists).
In April and May 2015, Nepal was hit by a serious of devastating earthquakes that left 6,000 dead. The media in Nepal was forced to work in make-shift shelters. Through MSSF financial support given to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), a three-day, trauma and journalism workshop was held to better equip journalists to report during and after natural disasters. Read the full story on the IFJ Asia-Pacific website.
|Balance as at July 1||67,901||42,783|
|Funds raised during the year||1,797||52,738|
|Payments made during the year||(1,000)||(27,620)|
|Balance as at June 30||68,698||67,901|