Advances in mobile technology, the expansion of the Internet, and the development of social networks have provided new communication platforms and digital tools for journalists, citizen reporters, and bloggers. They have helped break down barriers to press freedom and advanced democratic rights.
At the same time, these developments have created new threats to security for media workers and their sources. This is particularly true in parts of Latin America where organized crime, paramilitary groups, and authoritarian officials threaten independent journalists and bloggers alike. Their ability to censor and block information has a chilling effect on freedom of expression.
As a new survey on digital and mobile security among Mexican journalists and bloggers notes, corrupt actors are using new technologies to identify and monitor those who may speak out against them. This has resulted in increased fear and self-censorship among reporters.
A joint project between the International Center for Journalists and Freedom House, the survey finds that as journalists increasingly use online platforms, social networks, and mobile devices to post comments or reports about crime and corruption, they face serious digital risks to their identity and privacy.
- How well do reporters in the region understand the dangers of digital technology?
- How do these dangers differ in places like Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cuba?
- How can they use technology to empower independent media and combat censorship?
Panelists will explore these questions and provide recommendations for how media development stakeholders can improve digital safety training as part of overall democracy and governance efforts.
Mariclaire Acosta, Freedom House
Eduardo Bertoni, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow/National Endowment for Democracy
Jorge Luis Sierra, International Center for Journalists/Freedom House
Frank Smyth, Global Journalist Security
Introductory remarks by:
Joyce Barnathan, International Center for Journalists