Hot Topic - Press/Media Freedom
Armed only with their digital devices, pens long ago disappearing, media workers seem less equipped to fend off the onslaught of paranoia, polarization and propaganda. Complicit authorities keep inventing new and creative ways to sideline even basic news, lest the public know too much. Where media freedom is respected, however, folks seem to get along quite well, even happier. Perhaps thatís the point.
Respect for criticism, divergent views and objectivity are the necessary adhesive for societies moving successfully into the future. The media plays an essential role in this narrative as do leaders in every civil sector. While great lessons are learned from history, nobody really lives there. Confusion mixed with fantasy is the place-name for nowhere.
The documentary form never gets old. Subject material is vast, from injustices in the world and conspiracy theories to the real stories of the real and not-so-real. These moving pictures are moving at a time when attachment is considered out of fashion and escape considered a necessity. What have we learned?
Times are unquestionably difficult for news media throughout the world. Once upon a time, reporters had privileged access and a measure of respect, even when critical. Media workers are targeted for assault - or worse - by anybody with a grievance, whether police, politicians, gangsters or fanatics. Even media outlet proprietors are angry with reporters.
We would like to believe in the Glinda the Good Witch, Johnny Appleseed or Santa Claus. It is not only the appeal to simple, perhaps naive comfort. Those narratives endure because they enhance our craving for a future. But even Cinderella had to learn the difference between good and evil.
Awful things are popping out all over the internet. Politicians vow to make it safe, at least for themselves. We understand their frustration. But the internet and all things that spring from it are not just a well of ideas to be bottled up. On this river everything flows.
Ten years ago the European Union expanded exponentially, adding ten new Member States at one moment. For the media sectors in those countries the decade of EU membership has been brilliant for some, batty for others and baffling for the rest. General media health benefited almost immediately from cross border influence and investment. But euphoria turned, as it often does, to the daily grind of economics, politics and the digital dividend.
See also in ftm Knowledge
Press/Media Freedom - Challenges and Concerns
Press and media freedom worldwide is facing challenges from many corners. As authoritarian leaders impose strict control over traditional and new media with impunity, media watchers have concerns for democracy. This ftm Knowledge file accounts the troubles of this difficult decade. 88 pages. PDF (December 2011)