Washington DC: Turns out, the world is not as you have been told. When it comes to journalism, the “truth” is indeed “stranger than fiction”. According to a special report, the truth is being suppressed across the world as a variety of methods are being used to stop the journalists from covering the news.
Editor Rachael Jolley said in the ‘Danger in Truth: Truth in Danger’ report that physical violence is not the only method being used to stop news being published. As well as kidnapping and murders, financial pressure and defamation legislation is being used, the report further revealed.
Jolley added, “In many countries around the world, journalists have lost their status as observers and now come under direct attack.” There’s an increasing trend to label journalists as “extremists” or “terrorists” so governments can crackdown on reporting they don’t like.
According to Index’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which tracks attacks on journalists in more than 40 countries, 35 incidents were reported where journalists were being linked to “extremism” to restrict reporting, 11 in Russia and others in Belgium, Hungary, France and Spain.
Veteran journalists say certain countries including Syria are becoming almost impossible to cover. And citizen journalists in Syria say they are under enormous pressure to stop reporting but feel a responsibility to carry on despite the risks, particularly since so few international journalists are left in Syria. “All we can do is persevere, coping with the fear and the risks,” one told Index.
Laura Silvia Battaglia, who trains journalists in Iraq, noted, “In Iraq providing safety training is not only necessary, it’s a duty for international originations who care about journalists and activists in dangerous zones. […] Local journalism is vital if the Iraqi people are to know what is happening in their country, and to do that journalists need to continue to protect themselves.” The report appears in the 250th issue of Index on Censorship magazine.