overnments have always gone to great lengths to control information.
Using broad-ranging and ill-defined anti-terrorism laws as a method of stemming criticism is hardly a surprising turn of events.
Luckily, we live in a hyperconnected age, where information flows freely, and we can all access the undiluted truth with little more than a swipe of thumb over touchscreen.
Ain’t no way THE MAN is gonna stop me getting my hilarious cat Gifs.
The truth is being suppressed across the world using a variety of methods, according to a special report in the 250th issue of Index on Censorship magazine.
Physical violence is not the only method being used to stop news being published, says editor Rachael Jolley in the Danger in Truth: Truth in Danger report. As well as kidnapping and murders, financial pressure and defamation legislation is being used, the report reveals.
“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 says:
“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 special report is part of the 250th issue from global quarterly magazine Index on Censorship which explores the increasing threats journalists are facing globally. More information about ‘Danger in Truth: Truth in Danger’ can be found here. The magazine also includes an exclusive translation of a play extract by Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, published for the first time in English.
Index on Censorship magazine is celebrating its 250th issue with a launch party on the Power of Print, at MagCulture in London on July 12, with performances by actor Simon Callow, poet Jemima Foxtrot and musician Moddi.