DHARAMSALA, May 2: Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamsala-based rights group will organize a Tibet Awareness concert to mark “World Press Freedom Day” at 6:30 pm on May 3 at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala.
The music concert is part of the Tibetan group’s “Fight the Blackout” campaign that aims to mobilize support from the global civil society to end extreme restrictions put on independent journalists and human rights monitors by China to visit and assess the ground situation in Tibet, where a total of 131 known Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 in protests against the Chinese government’s repressive rule.
Big Bang Blues, a Delhi-based blues band with a powerful female vocalist and a unique style will be the mainstay of the concert that also includes contemporary Tibetan performances from the campaign partner, TIPA along with a host of other solo artists.
“ ‘Fight the Blackout’ campaign has been active online mobilizing support from the civil society including individuals and groups and reminding the larger humanity about the significance of the World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every year on 3 May, a day for governments to remember their duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression, a fundamental human right; a day to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty; and a day to remember the restrictions imposed upon press freedom throughout the world, including in Tibet,” noted a statement released by TCHRD.
“China has imposed an information blackout on Tibet, which places heavy restrictions upon the freedom of press and expression. China prevents the international community from knowing the real situation in Tibet by strictly controlling the movements of foreign and domestic journalists including Tibetan citizen journalists who are imprisoned and tortured for their efforts to share information about human rights abuses. Tibetan voices are silenced, their agency violently denied as independent publications are banned or heavily censored,” TCHRD further added.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders has ranked China 175th out of 180 countries.