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Customer Focus: Free Press Unlimited

Supporting the heroes fighting for independent information

Amid constant pressure being put on democracy in countries all around the world, a free and independent media has become more important than ever. Free Press Unlimited undoubtedly knows this. Raptim spoke with the director of operations Ruth Kronenburg about their contribution in making this world a better place.

Free Press Unlimited – people deserve to know

Free Press Unlimited’s main office is stationed in the center of Amsterdam, a place where reliable information and trustworthy news are pretty much taken for granted. But Ruth Kronenburg knows this is certainly not something good anywhere in the world. She is aware of the devastating influence and effect of repressive regimes on independent journalists and free press as a whole.

Free Press Unlimited believes that objective information can be of life-and-death importance. The information that people need to survive and give shape and meaning to their own future. “Our mission is people deserve to know”, Ruth says. “That means that everyone should have access to independent information. Without independent information, you can’t make good decisions.”

Ruth has a long history working in the media. She has contributed to many daily news shows and helped to setup several mergers. In 2011, she joined Free Press Unlimited as director of operations, when Free Voice and Press merged to form a new organization.

 

Free Press Unlimited is mostly operating in countries with repressive regimes, where the most basic information can save lives. For example, in Sudan where currently there is a cholera epidemic. “We have a radio station broadcasting over there. Through the radio, people can be warned where there are outbreaks of cholera. Or receive information how to combat the disease.” To improve independent journalism in developing countries, it’s crucial to work together with good partners to help these nations, says Ruth. One way to help is to provide training. Another is to setup leak platforms. “Those are secured digital platforms where people can leak information to the media to raise awareness of atrocities in their communities." To give the young people a voice in the media, Free Press Unlimited has launched Wadada. A television program, broadcasted in twenty countries where young people can discuss topics that matter to them.

In 2016, press freedom globally fell to the lowest point in thirteen years. This was mainly due to new threats on journalists in democratic countries and oppression of independent media in authoritarian countries. The decline can only to be stopped by compassionate people who step up and fight for the right to free press.

“I call them heroes, brave human beings who see it as their duty to give access to independent information. Take for instance Mexico, which is one of the worst countries for journalists, yet some people risk their own lives to provide reliable journalism. Or Sudan with its repressive regime. Luckily, we found people who put their life on the line to make sure communities receive trustworthy information. We should be very thankful that these heroes exist amongst us.”

Last year, Ruth traveled to Indonesia for the GFMD Jakarta World Forum. She decided to make a quick stop at Suara Surabaya, a popular radio station and partner of Free Press Unlimited (see photo). When Errol Jonathans founded the station in 1983, the people of Surabaya only had music and entertainment to listen to on the radio. He decided the community could use a station that exhaustively discusses subjects that matter to the city.

“After Jonathans founded the station, Surabaya grew very fast. Around the same time, the trash in the city quickly started to pile up”, Ruth explains. “That caused problems with diseases and rats. So, everyone began to complain on the radio."

Jonathans challenged his listeners. They were only allowed to complain if they would help to find a solution. "That was a huge success, to the extent that even the mayor called in to be part of the discussion. In the end, with the help of the community, Surabaya found a solution, and it is now the cleanest city in all of Indonesia."

Raptim believes the world can be a better place when care and compassion can travel where it’s needed most. Whether that is in Indonesia or somewhere else on the planet. “We usually travel to uncommon destinations. Raptim knows our world and knows how sudden things can happen that need an equally immediate and thorough response. That is a significant advantage."

Like Raptim, Free Press Unlimited is aware of the responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why they fly climate neutral. It means that greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2, are compensated. This is done together with our mutual partner, the Climate Neutral Group.

Our passion and our beliefs drive us to help to make a difference, not to make a profit. That is why we support great organizations like Free Press Unlimited. To read more about other great humanitarian projects, follow our daily updated News & Community section.

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