This year’s theme for the 2017 World Press Freedom Day “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies” is one of the most important days honouring press freedom.
The widespread belief in the politically-motivated killings of journalists in Sri Lanka is predicated on a deadly irony: the hidden hand has always been visible, but the fingerprints have gone missing.
Images of protestors flooding the streets – whether in Caracas, Bucharest, Istanbul or Washington DC – send a powerful message to those in power, especially when they are plastered across newspaper front pages.
“It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it,” says Mary Beard, a Cambridge University classics professor about online trolling. “If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It is the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients.”
Rogue interests, perhaps even foreign, are said to be trying to interfere with the electoral process in the U.S. and European Union members. Senior government officials glibly endorse what they themselves call “alternative facts” and even openly describe the media as their enemy.
Journalists are not only major users of the cherished right to freedom of expression but also symbols of the extent to which a society tolerates and promotes freedom of expression. The current state of safety of journalists worldwide is alarming. Over the last decade 827 journalists and media workers have been killed. Even more alarming is the fact that in less than one out of ten cases have the perpetrators been apprehended.
As the clock ticks down to Kenya’s general elections slated for Aug. 8, a move by the Kenya Communication Authority (CAK) to make journalists adhere to guidelines on election coverage has elicited fear that the government could be trying to control how they report on the polls.