Our values of human rights, peace, democracy and the protection of the most vulnerable all depend on our ability to know when there are people and actions that violate them. As such our societies need free, independent information channels that can rely news about what is happening. These channels need professional journalists who are doing the work of investigating and reporting on actions, decisions and events that can jeopardise the values we believe in. Without them, our eyes are blind and our hears deaf – that is why we must protect them!
Journalists are the watchdog that reports and informs the public when abuses and violence happen. Their job is to inform what is going and that means looking for the truth and asking questions. This is also exactly why journalists are at risk of repercussions – because of what they discover and want to tell. Powerful organisations, such as governments and criminal cartels, often threaten, hurt or even kill journalists who have uncovered compromising facts that would damage them if made public. In Europe the recent murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak show how dangerous this job has become even in more peaceful areas of the world, let alone in areas where human rights are less protected, such as parts of Mexico or regions like Kashmir.
Throughout May, the WSF will run a campaign exploring what we can do to protect journalists across the world. We will discuss the role of civil society, but also of national authorities and of international organisations. We believe that if they all work together they can provide real protection to journalists who are threatened or harassed. We will also discuss what programs exist for this purpose and what collaborations have been set up across different parts of the world to guarantee freedom of press in practice and not just in theory. Stay tuned for more!