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Forty-two Journalists Selected as 2012 World Press Freedom Day Fellows

In addition to sponsoring a panel on “Innovations in Gathering and Sharing News” at this year’s World Press Freedom Day, IREX is pleased to also extend the World Press Freedom Day Fellows program for a second year. Forty-two front-line journalists and activists whose work is advancing media freedom in their countries will now have the opportunity to attend the commemoration in Tunis, Tunisia on May, 3-5, 2012. Below we highlight three of these fellow. For the full list, click here

Brenda Burrell, Zimbabwe

Brenda Burrell, is co-founder and IT Director at Kubatana.net, Zimbabwe’s civic and human rights information portal. Brenda is the director of Freedom Fone, an innovative, voice-based platform that allows mobile phone users to engage in civic debate, activism and mobilization through social media and communication technologies. With a free and open-source platform that does not require Internet access, it allows a growing community of activists and civil society practitioners to communicate with one another in any language, thus fostering greater civic engagement among individuals who are often marginalized due to poverty and low literacy.

Fatoumata Forfana, Liberia

Fatoumata Forfana, is one of the few female editors in her country. An outstanding journalist, she was recently promoted to one of the top editorial roles at Liberia's oldest independent newspaper, Daily Observer. Fatoumata has used her column in the Daily Observer to promote gender equality and equity. She believes strongly in women's empowerment, frequently arguing that women must be more assertive to chart a path for themselves in the newsroom. She is seen as an inspiration to many young female journalists in Liberia

Salem Bin‐Talib, Yemen

Salem Bin‐Talib, is celebrating Parliament's approval in April of an Access to Information Law after a four‐year struggle. He is the former executive director of Yemen Parliamentarians Against Corruption10 (YemenPAC) and is currently chief of staff to the Prime Minister. He led the effort to introduce the Access to Information Law after being personally frustrated by his own inability to access government data while serving as a parliament member. He researched laws in the region and worked to draft, lobby for and introduce legislation to the parliament. He also has been instrumental in drafting and pushing forward a new Press Law that better protects journalists in the country.

Other supporters of the World Press Freedom Day 2012 Fellows include the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) at the US Department of State, the Open Society Foundations, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.