CIMUN Chronicle / Article / 2016

The decline of freedom of the press: a universal movement?

IPD Article Image - The decline of freedom of the press: a universal movement?

By Wray Sulisz, Al Jazeera

Journalists around the world are facing serious risks in countries where press freedoms have diminished over the years. Journalists reporting in countries such as Myanmar, Ukraine, Venezuela, Egypt, Japan and Hungary are confronted with death threats, assaults and even murder solely for trying to do their job and bring truth to the people about the current events happening within their own border and abroad.

Recently in Myanmar, journalists attempting to report in the Rakhine state, where a campaign against the Rohingya minority has taken place, have been declined access, assaulted and one journalist was murdered.

In Ukraine, a leading journalist was killed in a car bomb. President Petro Poroshenko has made it clear that “unpatriotic” news should not be given attention.

This decline in press freedom has grown in countries with political polarization and distrust in the media and is becoming a universal movement. Even the country that prides itself on being the land of the free has only recently enforced its First Amendment.

Even in the U.S. today, the model of freedom of the press is starting to deteriorate. President Trump has identified certain news outlets and journalists as traitors to the American people and categorized their stories as “fake news.”

Around the world, journalists risk their lives to do their jobs and are looking to the U.S. to help defend freedom of the press. Now that their president has made a mockery of this, who do these journalists need to look to for salvation?  

“The first step in ensuring diversity and participation in the media is to make everyone feel safe and included so that they are willing to speak out through the media. Through promoting and encouraging diversity, the government can help bring these minorities into the light,” the representative from Costa Rica said. Costa Rica is a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Press freedom is backsliding. Journalists are facing violent repression all around the world. Defending of journalists should be a global effort and countries that value the risks that the media take should be leading this fight for freedom of the press.

Image: Esther Vargas/Flickr