Courageous journalists have received lots of attention lately, with a Pulitzer Prize going to two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar, Congress rallying for accountability in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and Time magazine naming Philippine reporter Maria Ressa and other brave journalists people of the year. With the UN designated World Press Freedom Day on May 3, these celebrations will kick into high gear.
Standing up for the these brave journalists is uplifting. It galvanizes the profession and inspires the public.
But defending press freedom is different. It’s also much harder.
It involves defending the rights of journalists with whom we may disagree; or even journalists who may have behaved unethically. It means defending a principle that we value in the abstract, but can lead to serious negative consequences in the real world.
Over the years at CPJ, we’ve defended the rights of journalists who engage in speech we view as abhorrent; we’ve defended journalists who express sympathy for political groups that are engaged in violence, or even terrorism; we’ve defended the rights of journalists who have been negligent, compromised, and corrupt. For example, we haved called on governments to deliver justice for journalists we suspect were killed by one criminal organization for taking a bribe from another.
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I am gratified when the people in the United States and around the world stand up for the rights of journalists they admire. But
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/analysis/press-freedom-defend.php