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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC World Service marks World Press Freedom Day

On a daily basis, journalists throughout the world risk their lives to bring people the latest news. BBC World Service will be marking World Press Freedom Day, which takes place on Monday 3 May, with a range of programming around press freedom, the safety of journalists and impunity.

Content will explore the issues associated with working in areas of conflict, journalist security, corruption and investigative journalism.

Peter Horrocks, Director, BBC Global News, says: "Spanning the last decade, two journalists on average are killed every week, attempting to deliver untold stories and crucial news to people around the world.

"This is just the tip of a range of intimidating activities against journalists and news organisations, such as hi-tech jamming of satellite television news services by countries like Iran.

"Our audiences have clearly demonstrated that they place a high value on impartial news, information and debate. A free and open media is imperative to ensure the survival and diversity of quality international news.

"In support of this, the BBC's international news services are choosing to mark World Press Freedom Day, with content that aims to highlight the importance of global press freedom for audiences everywhere."

English Network

Highlights on the English language network are expected to include an interview with Roxana Saberi, the American journalist who was imprisoned and accused of spying in Iran in 2009, an overview of the Reporters Without Borders annual report on press freedom, and a co-production interview with Robert Mukombozi, the Rwandan journalist in exile in Australia, from The World Today and Network Africa.

BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Paul Adams reports on the impact of online journalism, questioning whether we have passed through the golden age of a free press. Are we heading for a glorified 'blogocracy' where there is plenty of opinion but not enough money to fund the journalism which holds governments to account?

Additionally, online, Vincent Dowd will provide a history of signal blocking.

Language Services

BBC Hausa, BBC Swahili, and BBC para Africa (Portuguese for Africa) will be exploring the state of press freedom in Nigeria, Rwanda and Angola respectively, while the French for Africa service, BBC Afrique, looks to the future of the media in Benin and at its successes.

BBC Persian will be taking into account the state of press freedom in Iran and how it has changed since the presidential election. The radio service will offer a discussion programme looking at the global ramifications of press freedom in Iran, the Middle East and across the world.

BBC Persian TV will broadcast an episode of HARDtalk featuring an interview with an Iranian state TV and radio journalist, Reza Valizadeh. He left the country five months ago after the post-election unrest and talks to presenter Enayat Fani about the increasing pressures on journalism in the post-election period.

Critically acclaimed BBC interactive programme Nobat-e Shoma (Your Turn) will lead an online debate and a live televised programme discussing the impact of constraints on the Iranian media and the wider region.

BBC Pashto will present an overview of the media panorama in Afghanistan which now includes more than 500 media outlets. Additionally, it will be documenting the difficulties faced by female journalists in the country, as well as a discussion with the Head of the Afghan Journalists' Association, Rahimullah Samandar, on press freedom.

BBC Chinese will have a web forum with an audience participating in a debate on press freedom and restrictions in China, and will explore the issues brought about by proliferation of media there.

BBC Serbian will look at the unresolved cases of some journalists who disappeared during the Milosevic era, and will be trying to shed some light on their fate.

Finally, BBC Uzbek will be running audio postcards from reporters on the ground, talking about practicalities and difficulties of reporting on Uzbekistan. An interview will also be broadcast with William Horsley, Chairman of the Centre for Freedom of the Media.

For full programming schedules please go to

Notes to Editors

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services, including: Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, English, English for Africa, English for the Caribbean, French for Africa, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Africa, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish for Latin America, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 188 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels.

Its news sites, which received 4.7 million weekly visitors in September 2009, include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate.

It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices.

For more information, visit

For a weekly alert about BBC World Service programmes, sign up for the BBC World Agenda e-guide at

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