'The truth about our own countries'
(NG) US Ambassador to Luxembourg David McKean hosted a roundtable discussion with three Iraqi journalists on Tuesday in honour of World Press Freedom Day.
The UN proclaimed the day in 1993 not only to defend basic principles of freedom of the press, but also to assess the state of such freedoms around the world.
"Journalists tell us the truth about our own countries, and the truth about our own governments," Ambassador McKean said. "They expose injustices and report about problems that affect people's lives. And sometimes, they tell us positive stories that might otherwise go unnoticed."
And the three Iraqis are doing just that: through their words, as is the case for journalists Hind Alharby and Ennas Al Sharifi, as well as through images, as is the case for photographer Ali Sahib.
"These three reporters fled Iraq when they realised they could no longer do their jobs without risking their lives on a daily basis," Ambassador McKean stated.
And the figures speak volumes: according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent non-profit based in New York City, 10 journalists have already been killed in 2016, two in Iraq. In 2015, 72 journalists were killed worldwide.
While Finland is top for press freedom, Luxembourg has a pretty high standard itself: according to Reporters Without Borders' 2016 rankings, Luxembourg ranks 15th of 180 countries. To put that in comparison, the UK and US rank 38 and 41, respectively, and at the bottom of the rankings are countries like Iraq (158), Syria (177) and Eritrea (180).
The three Iraqis have been reporting for wort.lu/en about their experiences as they seek asylum in the Grand Duchy. Their stories range from the challenges of life away from home, and they were happy to have the opportunity to share their stories again.
Ennas Al Sharifi, for example, shared a short film--a collection of video clips and photos she had taken during her journey from Iraq to Luxembourg.
"I was able to show them the suffering on the road to Europe," she stated. "I was very much surprised because many do not have any idea of the number of media in Iraq [or] the lack of protection of journalists."
Photographer Ali Sahib was also excited to meet the ambassador and his wife, adding: "I was able to get to know the reporters and exchange ideas with them. One photojournalist [at the event] invited me to do photo walk--it's a dream for me to practice my profession again."