Minggu, 08 April 2018

A Resurrection to Media Freedom

December 20, 2017.

The onslaught of media freedom threatens everyone's rights.

A new report yesterday reached an uncomfortable conclusion that press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in at least a decade.

The idea market is still standing, but the foundation is under attack. This is not a good picture. Freedom of expression and information is being rolled back in many places.

Turkey is a clear example of one of the worst. Philippines, Egypt, Poland, Mexico, Venezuela are examples of this.

Around the world, more and more journalists are being silenced, tried, or even murdered. Last year, according to a survey, 259 were jailed for political reasons and 79 were murdered. "Global media freedom is at its lowest level since the beginning of this century," the report said.

It was pretty bad, but it was unusual.

For nearly four centuries, this metaphor has represented the belief that in free, honest, and transparent competition, the best idea always prevailed. In a democratic society, freedom of expression, which includes freedom of speech and the press, draws its protection from that belief.

These days, threatening journalists make that belief seem naive.

We were powerless against our union's peace disruption, but we all had to get out of our echo chamber and act against it.

For teachers and academic institutions, the challenge is to conduct fact-checking and to sharpen each student's ability to make appropriate judgments.

For journalists and media organizations, threats should trigger an honest reflection of our practices and goals. Attacks are a real threat to freedom of speech and the press, having begun forcing political leaders to turn to cruel laws in an attempt to counteract.

Consider the danger. Dividing up as can happen in our interactions for several days, the free movement of caring citizens' ideas is still preferred to give the government more control over our public conversations.

Dictators and powerful people in many places, including unions often crack down on media freedoms as a major part of their efforts to consolidate control. Drift to authoritarianism in our union, for example, has been accompanied by predictable pressures on the media.

The latest wrinkles are an emerging threat about editorial columns on Monday, December 18, 2017, in which several personalities have been made personally and publicly. This may be largely a typical destructive crap in our own union, but there is a real danger that will encourage a crackdown on the media in other unions, if necessary action is not taken. If the Modakeke Student Union Federation, of all unions, does not defend the principle of free media, why should other unions pay heed to it?

None of this is about privileges for the news media. Long experience shows that when the press is free to be trampled, it is part of a much broader attack on everyone's rights.

The new report from FUMS Parrot presents a useful purpose in illuminating the threat.

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