Reporters Without Borders is launching a ’pirate radio’ - Radio Non Grata - which will broadcast from Geneva on the 9-10 December to coincide with the start of the World Summit on the Information Society, which it has been banned from attending.
It will use the radio both to decry the ban and broadcast details of press freedom violations by many of the countries taking part in the Summit.
"To ban an organisation defending press freedom from a summit focusing on the circulation of news is a decision laden with meaning," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders. "Our organisation defends freedom of expression on the Internet on a daily basis. Our voice should therefore be heard during this event, despite this outrageous ban", he added.
Radio Non Grata will broadcast in Geneva and its environs, on 95.8 FM, in English and French a programme especially tailored for the occasion. It will transmit interviews with Mr Ménard, the former managing director of AFP Claude Moisy, head of the Swiss branch of Reporters Without Borders, Gérald Sapey, Jean-Claude Buhrer and Claude Levenson, co-authors of the book "The United Nations against human rights?", Patrice Mugny, administrative adviser for cultural affairs for Geneva, Christian Ferrazino, Mayor of Geneva, Stéphane Koch, Chairman of the Internet Society Geneva and Pamela Taylor, US journalist specialising in the media.
A team from Reporters Without Borders will be on hand in Geneva to publicise Radio Non Grata. Its members will hand out mini radios on which people can listen to the pirate radio, along with leaflets and posters with the message, "Don’t let them decide the future of the Internet".
Reporters Without Borders points out that some 50 people are in jail for having set up independent on-line news sites that criticise governments or simply for looking at banned pages. Tunisia, China, Vietnam, Cuba and the Maldives are among the "predators" of freedom on the Net, censoring hundreds of sites, intercepting emails, tracking down and jailing cyberdissidents. At the same time the leaders of these countries make a show of appearing at the World Summit on the Information Society.