On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is launching "Great year for censorship", an ironic campaign about 12 heads of state who will be throwing parties tomorrow to celebrate their victories over media freedom.
Designed by the Paris-based advertising agency BETC for RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, the campaign focuses on leaders in 12 countries who have trampled on media freedom and gagged journalists in various spectacular ways.
Grenades thrown at radio stations in Burundi, journalists fired over a tweet in Turkey, massive state propaganda in China, Russia and Eritrea, a blogger jailed and flogged in public in Saudi Arabia, military detention camps for journalists in Thailand – these are just a few examples of how these 12 enemies of media freedom behave.
RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index has highlighted a deep and worrying decline in the ability of journalists to operate freely and independently throughout the world, including these 12 countries.
Journalistic independence is being undermined in both state and privately-owned media as a result of enhanced mechanisms for censorship and news control, propaganda apparatuses, and ideologies – especially religious extremism – that are hostile to journalism.
And all over the world, oligarchs are buying up media outlets and subjecting journalist to pressure that adds to the existing pressure from government’s often allied with leading corporate interests.
The campaign targets these leaders:
- Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia),
- Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea),
- Ilham Aliyev (Azerbaijan),
- Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt),
- Prayuth Chan-ocha (Thailand),
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkey),
- Kim Jong-Un (North Korea),
- Ali Khamenei (Iran),
- Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela),
- Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi),
- Vladimir Putin (Russia)
- and Xi Jinping (China).
BETC has produced the World Press Freedom Day campaign free of charge for RSF for the fifth year running. The ad agency’s staffers even posed for the photos on which the heads of these leaders were superimposed.
The campaign’s posters can already be seen on the streets of Paris and in digital format on social networks.