Trouble with the Truth is the podcast produced by Lana Estemirova in partnership with the Justice for Journalists Foundation. Lana talks to brave and resilient journalists from around the world who face persecution just for doing their job and lets her audience hear voices that usually remain hidden behind the curtain.
The Myanmar coup: how people united to resist the military junta
It’s been over three months since the military coup in Myanmar that resulted in violence and mass protests. In the latest episode of Trouble with the Truth, Lana speaks about the origins and the consequences of the coup with the UK-based academic and human rights activist Maung Zarni. He is a co-founder Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia network, Burmese coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition and has been engaged in activism for over thirty years. Zarni gave a detailed and thought-provoking account of the events in Myanmar –the unravelling of the coup, how ethnical divides were mended as people joined the fight against the junta, how civilians found their ways around social media shutdown and what can be done locally and globally to topple the military dictatorship.
A tale of grit and courage: what it takes to be a journalist in Syria
We have reached a grim milestone with the ten-year anniversary of the Syrian revolution that turned into a bloody war and tore the country apart. In the latest episode of Trouble with the Truth, Lana interviews a very special guest: Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, who is currently based in London.
It takes an unsurpassed kind of bravery to report on what was happening on the ground and Zaina was one of those journalists. She explains why she chose to leave her studies in London and go back to face the danger, and how she managed to keep herself safe. Zaina also speaks about the challenges of being a female journalist in a conflict zone and why people did not believe she was Syrian. To listen to the full interview, tune into the latest episode of Trouble with the Truth.
“Between a rock and a hard place”- the challenges of being a journalist in Somalia
In the latest episode of Trouble with the Truth, Lana interviews Somali journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin. Somalia has an appalling record when it comes to press freedom – more than 70 journalists have been killed since 1992, their murderers enjoying total impunity. Abdalle has received numerous threats because of his reporting and narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 2015. He was forced to hide his family and go into an exile. This made his subsequent return to Somalia particularly extraordinary - not only did he go back to reporting but he also helped to set up the Somali Journalists Syndicate. Abdalle spoke to me about the organisation of his Syndicate’s mission and how their work has been affected by the global pandemic. He also addressed Somalia’s dangerous new Media Law and stressed why the international community should pay attention to what’s happening in Somalia.
How the rich and powerful drown journalists in lawsuits: the case of Clare Rewcastle-Brown
In this new episode of Trouble with the Truth, Lana interviews journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown who helped to uncover the infamous 1MDB corruption scandal in 2015. The focus of their discussion wasn’t the investigation itself but the legal turmoil and harassment that followed it. Not only has she been banned from entering Malaysia but while living in the UK, the journalist was subjected to a defamation campaign, hacking, surveillance and intimidation. The harassment was orchestrated by reputable UK based law firms and PR agencies. Clare is also fighting multiple civil and criminal lawsuits, filed in the UK and Malaysia. They discuss why SLAPP lawsuits are so damaging for free media and how they should be handled and whether the UK government should do more to deal with this problem.
The mysterious murder of Pavel Sheremet
In their latest investigation, Roman and his colleagues examined the suspects involved in the murder of Belarussian journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was working in Ukraine. Pavel was killed by a car bomb as he was leaving his home in 2016. It took three years for the Ukrainian police to come up with the murder suspects. The investigation has proved controversial, with critics calling it flawed as it failed to uncover the masterminds behind the hit. In the interview, Roman elaborates on the details of the investigation: how they went through the phone logs of the murder suspects and discovered new connections. He also talked about who might have been behind the murder and why the pursuit of the truth is so important for Pavel’s colleagues.
Enemy of the state: inside Turkey’s crackdown on independent journalism
In this new episode of Trouble with the Truth Lana interviews Evin Barış Altıntaş, a journalist and the founder of the Media and Law Studies Association. MLSA provides legal support to journalists, promotes press freedom and the rights of minority groups.
The past few years have been disastrous for Turkish independent journalists. In 2016, using the failed coup attempt as a pretext, Tayyop’s Erdogan’s government imprisoned thousands of journalists, activists and academics.
According to Barış, Turkish president has always viewed independent media as an enemy. Those who scrutinized his policies and his personal wealth paid a heavy price. According to Amnesty International, more than 120 journalists are currently imprisoned, and more than 2500 media outlets were closed in the recent surge of repressions.
Barış recounts how Kurdish reporters, being members of a marginalized minority, face even tougher crackdown from the Turkish government. Another aspect of this crisis is the soaring unemployment amongst journalists, with many having fled the country fearing prosecution. Tune into the new episode of Trouble with the Truth to hear Barış’s detailed and eloquent account.