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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – Internews Works for Open Media - 2004-12-12

Broadcast: December 13, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Development Report.

“Nothing raises more fear in a repressive government than challenges to the control of information. And nothing is more important to the development of a civil, democratic society.”

These are the words of David Hoffman, the president of Internews. Mister Hoffman leads a non-profit organization that helps build media that are open and independent.

Internews was created in California in nineteen eighty-two. By its count as of July, the group had trained thirty-two thousand media professions around the world.

In Afghanistan, for example, Internews helped launch a network of more than twenty independent radio stations. Internews has also helped form the first independent broadcast media in Pakistan in sixty years. And it has trained what it says are the first media lawyers there.

The group has also trained a number of female reporters in Pakistan. The same is true in the Middle East.

In Africa, Internews is teaching journalists in Kenya and Nigeria how to report about H.I.V. and AIDS. The organization also supplies international news coverage of the trials related to the nineteen ninety-four killings in Rwanda. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is holding the trials in Tanzania.

Major supporters of Internews include the United States Agency for International Development and the State Department. Others include the United Nations Development Program and the Open Society Institute.

Internews has helped form national media organizations to seek laws for open media and to defend the rights of reporters. Internews International, a membership group of non-governmental organizations, is at work in more than forty countries.

Internews had some of its biggest successes yet through its work in Georgia. The organization had been working with Rustavi-two. This is a small independent television station in Tbilisi. In November of two thousand three, its reports on cheating in parliamentary elections helped fuel huge protests. Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as president of Georgia.

Today, Internews says Rustavi-two is an example for non-governmental stations throughout the Southern Caucasus.

You can learn more about Internews at its Web site, internews.org.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. I’m Gwen Outen.

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