The Investigative Journal held its official launch in London this month. The group of international journalists, former political prisoners, and icons for truth, will focus on issues of health, the environment, terrorism and press freedom and more of the most pressing issues of our time.
Mohamed Fahmy, CEO of The Investigative Journal, delivered the opening remarks and noted that TIJ’s board of advisors is dubbed the “board of prisoners” because of their past. Five of them have been incarcerated, harassed and kidnapped, Fahmy said. Despite this, “they continue their mission to try to bring the truth” to the world.
Some of these members include Lindsey Snell who was kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front in Syria and survived, Martin Karl Schibbye, a Swedish journalist who was jailed for 438 days in Ethiopia, Africa, for a crime he didn’t commit; Fahmy similarly was jailed in Egypt for fabricated terrorism charges when he was the Editor in chief of Al Jazeera.
TIJ’s international legal team is led by renowned international lawyer Amal Clooney.
Panelists included Taha Siddiqui, an award-winning Pakistani journalist and founder of SAFEnewsrooms.org now living in exile in Paris after surviving an abduction; Kerim Balci, the former editor-in-chief of Turkish Review and Chief Communications Officer of London Advocacy Group now living in exile in the UK; and Sarah Clarke, the head of Europe and Central Asia for Article 19, an international organization defending freedom of expression and information.
Yalda Hakim documentary filmmaker, and BBC World News presenter and correspondent moderated the official launch event.
“It’s surprising,” Fahmy said. “We are much stronger than we think we are” when placed in the most difficult situations, referring to his own time in solitary confinement.
TIJ also announced that it has partnered with Rappler in the Philippines.
Tamara Pearl, sister of the late Daniel Pearl, addressed the audience by video. Daniel Peal was kidnapped by a terrorist group in Pakistan in 2002 which then sold him to Al Qaeda at the hands of which he reached his early demise. “Exposing injustice is crucial for human rights,” she said. “But exposing human rights is dangerous.”
Maria Ressa, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Rappler, who delivered the keynote address, read from a speech she wrote titled, “Creating the Future Together.”
“This is not just an existential moment for journalists but it is also an existential moment for all democracies around the world,” Ressa said. She noted that collectively, we are living in unprecedented times and that you’re “damned If you do and damned if you don’t. Where crisis is opportunity and fear can either save your life or doom your future.”
“It is both a course and a privilege to be a senior journalist in my country today,” she said of her homeland, the Philippines. However, she noted that at this critical juncture of our world’s history, every decision each journalist makes will help determine the world’s future. “without facts, we don’t have truth. Without truth, we have no trust. Journalists are the gatekeepers of facts,” Rissa said. “Here we are in our generation, trying to fight for the facts. That is the battle of our generation.”
She praised Fahmy for his dedication to bringing the truth to the masses through The Investigative Journal. She ended her remarks by noting that “investigative journalism is needed more than ever.” She said, “It’s a brazen world” and as journalists, “We investigate. We expose. And then, we rebuild.”
The topics addressed how social media has been weaponized in dictatorships like Turkey and Pakistan, the role of governance in civil society and in protecting journalists, and the battle for the truth and how to create lasting change for the future.
Siddiqui said in Pakistan today about 80 percent of journalists self-censor out of fear of losing their lives. He noted that the editor of Dawn.com – the leading and biggest newspaper in Pakistan – said, “earlier they were trying to kill journalists and now they’re trying to kill journalism.”
2018 was the worst year on record for journalists.
Balci noted that in Turkey 1,954 press cards have been canceled in the last three years. He noted that press cards are only given by government organs. “I never applied for that because I believe a press card that is given by a government organ is not a press card. It has to be given by an independent organization, which we lack in my country.”
Clarke said that “In Europe and Central Asia, which is the region I focus on, the targeted attacks on journalists, especially who are reporting on high levels of corruption in governments and in organized crime…are higher than ever because the institutions that protect them, have been hollowed out.”
Fahmy recalling his own experience told the audience, “You worry, in that cell, that you are just going to become another statistic. He also noted that it is “important that countries use sanctions as one tool” to push back against countries who continue to imprison journalists, human rights activists, and others. “As a journalist, the thin line between journalism and activism can get you in trouble sometimes,” Fahmy said.
TIJ is about to begin filming in New York an interview show that will bring experts on topics the publication has written about and issues that are dominant on the news. Fahmy noted that TIJ will “take it a step further.”
Biden Authorizes Attack on Syria, Kamala FURIOUS It Wasn’t Her Call
Will Biden do a regime change in Syria?
AMERICA IS BACK BABY!
You didn’t seriously think that after four years of peace in the Middle East, things were gonna stay that way, did you Jack? Well of course not! On Thursday afternoon, the Pentagon confirmed that the United States military had carried out airstrikes in Syria against facilities used by Iranian-backed militias. These groups have been operating in Syria for some time in their fight against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.
Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby gave the following statement:
This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with Coalition partners. The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”
According to conservative commentator Jack Posobiec, Vice President Harris was not included in the discussions about the bombing and is very upset that she wasn’t.
Kamala Harris was not informed prior to the Syrian bombing and is very upset about being left out of the loop, per WH official
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 26, 2021
Many Twitter users are also pointing out the fact that Biden had fully condemned unannounced military action in the Middle East when it was Trump doing it.
— Biden Voters Posting Their L's Online (@BidenLs) February 26, 2021
According to the New York Post, the airstrikes were in response to recent attacks against US forces in Iraq. The militia groups targeted have denied any involvement in the attacks and there has been no confirmation as to whether or not they were involved. The New York Post wrote:
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was not immediately clear if there were any deaths or injuries caused by the US strike, or the extent of damage it may have caused.
On Feb. 15, a rocket attack against a US military base at Erbil International Airport in Northern Iraq killed a US-led coalition contractor and left others wounded, including an American service member.
Two days later, a base hosting US forces north of Baghdad was targeted in another rocket attack, wounding at least one contractor.
On Monday rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses the US embassy and other diplomatic missions.
Earlier this week, the Kataib Hezbollah group, one of the main Iran-aligned Iraqi militia groups, denied any role in recent rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq.
Some Western and Iraqi officials say the attacks, often claimed by little-known groups, are being carried out by militants with links to Kataib Hezbollah as a way for Iranian allies to harass US forces without being held accountable.
Fox New’s Tucker Carlson, who seems to be the only host on any cable news network that has been unquestionably anti-war for the past four years, gave a monologue Thursday night about his take on the attacks:
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