War on truth takes its toll on journalists

Elizabeth Franklin, Staff Writer

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“Terrorists,” “spies” and even “enemy of the American people” are terms used to refer to journalists by world leaders. Deaths of journalists with connection to their work has risen eight percent since last year.

“At least 80 journalists were killed this year, 348 are in prison and 60 are held hostage,” stated a study done by Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog that fights for political freedoms worldwide.

The world’s deadliest countries for journalists are Afghanistan with 15 deaths, Syria with 11 deaths and Mexico with nine deaths. America was even included on the list of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists because of the fatal shooting at the Capital Gazette, a newspaper in Annapolis, Md. where five employees were shot.

According to Kim Hjelmgaard for USA Today, even the number of journalists detained has gone up from 326 to 348. “As of 2017, China, which habitually persecutes and even ‘disappears’ journalists on vague charges related to the ‘subversion of state power,’ remains the world’s biggest jailer of journalists,” said Hjelmgaard. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey hold more than half of them. Syria, Iraq and Yemen hold all but one of the 60 journalists in the world being held hostage, the number of which has gone up 11 percent since last year.

This so-called “War on Truth” is a fight for exactly that: the truth. Political leaders have “denigrated” and “demoniz[ed]” the media when it said anything negative about them or their country and often shut down journalists who are just trying to do their work. In America, we have rights that give us the freedom of the press, but in other countries, journalists are persecuted for trying to write stories to share with the rest of the world.

As a student journalist interested in pursuing a career in journalism, I don’t want to have to fear for my life just for spreading the truth. We have the chance to share what’s really going on in the world, and we shouldn’t be persecuted for that. World leaders, especially since they have to work with a diverse group of people, should be more open-minded to other people’s opinions. Even if they don’t agree with the views of a journalist, they should respect that writers are doing their jobs just like the leaders are doing theirs. The war on truth should be fought until the truth isn’t a reason for persecution.

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