A war is waging against journalism. It cannot continue.

A war is waging. Not one over sovereignty or territory, not one fought with weaponry. This struggle
involves countless nations. It poisons societies. It broods in the mind. This is a conflict that threatens the foundation of democratic government, one that undermines civil rights. The world faces a war on journalism, and if not addressed, it could mean the beginning of societal decay. From harassment to growing numbers of killings and arrests, journalists everywhere face unprecedented threats in their profession. Society must take notice and take action; an awareness of the world is what fuels productive communities, and journalists’ ability to provide this information will deteriorate completely if society ignores the threats they face.

Online harassment of journalists has skyrocketed in recent years, which severely impacts their ability to effectively report. According to a survey of 12,000 U.S.-based journalists conducted by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, 42% reported job-related harassment or threats; 78% of them said that this harassment came through social media at least once. However, the struggles journalists face online do not end at threats. In December 2022, Twitter banned eight accounts of prominent journalists, including Ryan Mac of the New York Times and Drew Harwell of the Washington Post. Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, claimed that the journalists doxxed him, the act of posting private or identifying information about an individual on the internet. According to Rolling Stone, there is no evidence that the journalists endangered Musk or his family in any way. Coincidentally, the journalists had a similar history of reporting critically on Musk’s management of Twitter after taking over the company, as well as reporting on a conflict between Musk and the creator of @elonjet, an account that tracked the movement of Musk’s private jet. Musk later reinstated the accounts after conducting a poll about doing so on his private account, stating, “the people have spoken.” Of those polled, 59% voted for reinstatement, but is this really enough? The impulsive and unjustified censorship of these journalists cannot be left up to Musk’s whims nor the dynamic opinions of the people.

Freedom of the press is a civil right – it cannot be voted on or granted in case-by-case situations. Just as the government should not restrict publication, nor should a single man be allowed to censor the press. Society cannot stand by as the corruption of free press so publically takes place; rash censorship and obnoxious harassment dilute and obstruct journalism – it bars public access to important information. With the disintegration of this pillar of civil rights, who is to say what will follow. Twitter users must demand more from the company – demand the same standards of freedom guaranteed by their government. If not for the sake of journalists, then at least for the sake of basic civil rights.

The censorship of the press is perpetuated even outside the realm of social media; adversaries of free press even target student publications. One example is the Viking Saga, the former student newspaper of Northwest High School in Grand Island, Nebraska. According to The New York Times, administrators ordered the student journalists of the paper, three of whom were transgender, to use the names they were given at birth for bylines, rather than their preferred names because it was “controversial.” In response, the paper dedicated their June issue to LGBTQ+ issues. In retaliation, the superintendent and the school’s administrators shut down the newspaper program entirely. So, not only are well-established reporters facing censorship, but student journalists are too, the people on which the future of journalism depends. If the programs that aim to continue the profession are under fire, the entire industry is at risk. In light of this event, society should be in an uproar.

Yet this war goes beyond harassment and censorship. The physical danger countless journalists face is by far the most corruptive threat to journalism. For journalists worldwide, 2022 was the worst year on record, according to a report from Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, a non-profit organization with the goal of protecting press freedom. The report outlined record numbers of deaths and detentions: 57 journalists were killed, 65 were held hostage, over 134 were arrested and 49 remain missing. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2022 was the deadliest year on record for journalists in Mexico. The Russo-Ukrainian war caused a major spike in violence directed toward Ukrainian journalists. According to the RSF, in recent years U.S. journalists faced an “unprecedented climate of animosity and aggression during protests, with unprovoked physical attacks on clearly identified reporters.” This worldwide display of violence toward journalists grows more daunting. The disregard for journalists’ safety, even the perpetuation of this threat, is unacceptable. It is time for citizens to demand safety for journalists in the field, for answers to missing persons and unexplained detainments.

The state of journalism affects everyone; accessibility to information promotes civic engagement and informs political decision-making – it strengthens democracy. Without concern for the safety of journalists, democracy, and a productive society as we know it, crumble. No longer is it acceptable for the public to stand by as journalists are harassed, censored and killed. Now is the time to call for the upholding of a free press, and for the safety of journalists everywhere.

Read on Issuu.

2 thoughts on “A war is waging against journalism. It cannot continue.

  1. Wow, amazing weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you made running a blog glance easy. The entire look of your site is
    fantastic, let alone the content material! You can see similar here e-commerce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Publicizing criminal cases on TikTok benefits teens
Next post Addiction should be treated as a choice, not a disease