A conversation between foreign correspondents Peter Greste and Salil Tripathi, and Radio National’s Geraldine Doogue, on how free expression and freedom of the press are under attack in an era of ‘fake news’ and populism.
This interview was part of a forum presented by the Griffith Review Journal in Brisbane last year. The ABC published it again last Saturday, 19 January.
Here are eight take-home points:
- The CPJ points out that the recent criticism of the media and the nationalistic rhetoric that leaders like Trump espouse “only serve(s) to reinforce the framework of accusations and legal charges that allow leaders to preside over the jailing of journalists”.
- Journalism, at its heart, is about seeking the viewpoints and experiences of all parties involved, to enable a more rounded and fair analysis of any situation. After 9/11, governments have been leveraging circumstances to narrow this in their favour.
- After 9/11 the conflict has shifted from more tangible things like resources or race, to ideology – a conflict of ideas, where the media has become the battlefield.
- For many reasons media is under more pressure than ever before, but this does not mean journalists should allow their ethical standards to slip for the sake of getting eyeballs on a story.
- Without ethical standards and integrity in their practice, because of the current political landscape, journalists are at more risk when placed in a vulnerable or dangerous situation.
- Public trust is deeply important to the practice of journalism and to democracy in general, and this cannot be nurtured without both integrity and sound ethics.
- We cannot let ourselves, as a society, fall further into the practice of not listening to stories or voices that make us uncomfortable, or only seeking opinions that support our own.
- It wasn’t always like this. A decade ago journalists were still able to practice on both sides of the conflict, as observers. We must try to recover this and remind ourselves of the crucial role of a good, independent media in a functioning democracy.