In the News May 3
World Press Freedom Day
Press Freedom in Peril
Today is designated World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations.
The United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, is assigned to mark this day by publishing information about it and holding appropriate events. It says this year’s World Press Freedom Day theme is “Journalism under digital siege” to “spotlight the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists, and the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications.”
It says, “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people.”
It also says that “independent journalism – the kind that favours public interest over political, commercial, or factional agendas – is in peril.” “The rapid erosion of the business models underpinning media sustainability has deepened a crisis in the freedom and safety of journalists around the world,” it adds.
UNESCO’s World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development: Global Report 2021/2022 “compiles the grim evidence that journalism can no longer be taken for granted and outlines actions for the global community to act swiftly to protect and promote press freedom and public access to free, independent, and pluralistic news media,” UNESCO writes.
The World Trends Report has a discussion paper which highlights “how surveillance and hacking are compromising journalism. Surveillance can expose information gathered by journalists including from whistle-blowers, and violates the principle of source protection, which is universally considered a prerequisite for freedom of the media and is enshrined in UN Resolutions. Surveillance may also harm the safety of journalists by disclosing sensitive private information, which could be used for arbitrary judicial harassment or attack.”
UNESCO says, “There is a growing global push encouraging more transparency regarding how Internet companies exploit citizens’ data; how that data informs predictive models and artificial intelligence, and enables amplification of disinformation and hatred. This was underlined in the Windhoek+30 Declaration call for technology companies to ‘work to ensure transparency in relation to their human and automated systems.'”
This all sounds good but how can citizens expect technology companies to monitor themselves? The major players are funded by the Pentagon and defence industries and their personnel work for military intelligence and for the intelligence agencies of the “Five Eyes” under the dictate of the U.S. and NATO. Given the prevalence of disinformation in all spheres of life as a result of the takeover of all major forms of mass media by these interests, who decides the standards and criteria? What is the content of freedom of expression, freedom of speech and press freedom? These are very important questions today.
The major forms of mass media today are:
– Social Media
– Digital media
– The internet, etc.
UNESCO and the UN Department of Global Communications are hosting a virtual event on the media’s viability on May 4 which can be followed live on UN WebTV at 10:30 am. Those seeking answers to these important questions and are available may want to attend to see if the event sheds any light which helps provide them with answers.
TML Daily, posted May 3, 2022.