Old-school censorship and repressive government tactics have combined with technology and social media to create a new and troubling press freedom climate for journalists around the world, according to a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
That combination has resulted in more killings and arrests of journalists than CPJ has ever documented, according to the report. At the end of 2016, 259 journalists sat in jail.
...Technology capture means using the same technologies that have spawned the global information explosion to stifle dissent, by monitoring and surveilling critics, blocking websites and using trolling to shout down critical voices. Most insidious of all is sowing confusion through propaganda and false news.
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That press freedom climate, and the responses to it, are laid out in several essays in the report, including one asking how journalists in the U.S. are working under the Trump administration by freelancer Alan Huffman. Huffman looks for clues to the future in the past with the late Mississippi journalist Bill Minor:
Given such challenges to journalists during the civil rights era, Minor is deeply concerned by what he sees as 'the rebirth of an old animosity against the press,' particularly given its potentially far broader scope today. He said journalists cannot afford to be complacent about the potential for crowd violence, government surveillance, expanding libel lawsuits, and Trump's open disregard for traditional First Amendment protections.
Some other perspectives in this year's report:
- How government agencies are keeping the public and the press in the dark, from BuzzFeed's Jason Leopold.
- How the Kenyan government is conducting "fiscal blackmail," by former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
- How The New York Times' Rukmini Callimachi has learned to report on terrorism.
- And what Facebook means to journalists in countries where the government keeps tight control, by independent journalist Karen Coates.
You can read the full report here.