Keeping investigations of threatened journalists alive

A collaborative project called Forbidden Stories


Amid the growing threat to journalists’ safety in many parts of the world, a collaborative project called Forbidden Stories is working towards combating this unsettling trend by pursuing the stories of journalists who can no longer continue their work because they have been threatened, imprisoned or killed.

Initiated by the non-profit organization Freedom Voices Network, Forbidden Stories offers journalists under threat a secure way to store data and information related to their reporting, vowing to continue and publish their investigations in the event that they are jailed or killed in connection with their work. Additionally, those involved in the project hope it will aid in removing incentives to hurt journalists.

“I think that most of the time when journalists are killed, they are killed for the information and for the stories they try to publish,” said Laurent Richard, the founder and executive director of Freedom Voices Network.

“So, I think it doesn’t make sense for anybody to try and make a bad attempt against one journalist if they know that this journalist has already backed up the story and that it’s already in the hands of 10 or 20 other journalists ready to follow it up if anything happens to the journalist.”

Securing sensitive information

The website of the project features detailed instructions on how to securely send messages and documents, using Signal, SecureDrop or encrypted email, with the promise of keeping backups safe and, if this has been requested, continuing an investigation in case a journalist is no longer able to do so. As to not endanger those currently making use of the service, Richard can’t reveal how many journalists have been in contact or where they are based.

Defeating censorship with collaborative journalism

In light of its launch at the end of last October, Forbidden Stories published three short-form videos highlighting the murders of Mexican journalists Miroslava Breach, Javier Valdez, and Cecilio Pineda, and their investigations into corruption and drug cartels that presumably led to their death. Videos of this kind, of which the project’s staff members will continue to produce more, are translated into up to nine languages and published across Forbidden Stories’ own platform and social media channels in order to reach as large an audience as possible.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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