WAN-IFRA, CIMA Fight Soft Censorship by States


The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) have called on governments to fully respect the principles of transparent and non-discriminatory state advertising, aid and funding for all media outlets.

This was revealed in the CIMA and WAN-IFRA report  titled ” Soft Censorship, Hard Impact’ and was written by Thomas Lansner. The report is written and compiled based on a new global report on threats to independent media.

According to the report, ‘Soft censorship’ is a widely practiced but indirect form of censorship in which governments use biased media subsidies and advertising placements to exert pressure to influence media content and media outlets’ viability, therefore, the report warns of increasing threats to independent media posed by official use of financial leverage and regulatory powers to influence reporting and the very viability of media outlets.

As explained by Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA, “Soft censorship is pervasive, but not yet recognized for its grave and growing threat to media independence and press freedom. It is less noticed than direct attacks on press freedom like assaults on journalists, but is even more widespread.”

The report suggests a path forward that proponents of free and independent media can embrace, beginning with greater transparency and impartiality in all government payments and funding for media, be it for advertising, training, content, or straightforward subsidies.

Based on extensive research from several media freedom groups and reporting by numerous media outlets, the report offers examples of soft censorship in 30 countries. It also summarizes in-depth soft censorship reports on four countries like; Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, and Serbia.

The 30 page report was produced with support from Open Society Foundations and Open Society Justice Initiative and was released during the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and World Advertising Forum, June 2014 in Torino, Italy.

Download the full report here:  http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/104057 (bottom of the page).