Reporters Without Borders

Everyone talks about Doctors Without Borders, a global non-profit organization that aims to connect the world to much-needed medical care, but many people have not heard of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The RSF was started in France, under the name Reporters Sans Frontieres in 1985, and has become one of the world’s leading protectors of free information. This fountain of information is the linchpin to democracies.

The United States prides itself on a Constitution with the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, specifically allowing the "freedom of speech [and] of the press." Unfortunately, few other nations have guaranteed this right. RSF reports that “half of the world’s population has no access to freely-reported news and information.” This is one of the most important freedoms we have.

The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights said that the freedoms of opinion and expression imply the right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” On a global stage, freedom of expression and speech are regarded as highly important rights and freedoms given to individuals. The RSF works to protect these rights of individuals and the journalists who share their voices.

Many nations work to shut down voices of opposing ideas; RSF seeks to defend these individuals or groups while outing their oppressors.

Our voices allow us to speak concerning our well wishes on a government. In the United States, our press allows citizens to become almost a check on the government to see what is going well and what is not.

The world has been plagued by the silencing of journalists and individuals with expression. Now, more than ever, the messages and values of RSF are needed to defend and support journalists that are oppressed and jailed or even killed because of their voices. In the map below, the RSF ranks 180 countries by how free their press is.

The RSF provides all kinds of support for journalists ranging from insurance, legal assistance and bulletproof gear. First and foremost, the goal is to free up the broken channels where information is not allowed to reach the public, but in doing so, the RSF aims to recruit and help journalists in need. They also aim to identify oppressors of speech and mobilize support for regimes who will not oppress as well as journalists and individuals who have been wrongfully harmed for speaking their voices. 

Journalists like Jamal Khashoggi and Zehra Dogan have been killed or sentenced to jail for their work, and this happens to hundreds of journalists a year. Over 300 professional and citizen journalists are currently imprisoned. Many others may also be, they just have not been identified. 

Reporters Without Borders' work has just barely begun in a time where online information and social media have turned normal citizens into reporters. 

Freedom of information has to be saved.