May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day, a United Nations observance day meant to help us think about the dangers reporters and media workers face for reporting on controversial issues. All over the globe people are punished for reporting the truth in their countries. Freedom of speech is not a right for everyone, and it is important to recognize the dangers reporters and publishers face for expressing their opinions. We take for granted the fact that as Americans we can simply publish what we want without much fear of repercussion.
This year, UNESCO honors imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu for her work on reporting on poverty, gender, and equality in Africa. She opened her own publishing house and magazine in 2010, and was arrested in June of 2011 with a five year jail sentence. Reeyot’s story is not unique- reporters all over the world are jailed for expressing the truth. Take a look at Human Rights First’s information on other reporters in similar situations, some of whom are in jail and some of whom have been silenced forever.