Editorial: Overdue recognition


We’re in the midst of an era deemed “the war on free speech” – both within our country and across the world. 

Countries are at the forefront of danger with governmental censorship of truthful information. 

Misinformation and the term “fake news” are spewed left and right across the media landscape. 

The public’s trust in the media is lessening minute by minute, regardless of location.

Currently, journalists aren’t the most favored people in the world, constantly facing hate and assault for their work.

The free press is being threatened and we’re nearing chaos – everywhere. 

Two journalists, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia, were recently awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

The award recognized their “fight for the freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”

Ressa and Muratov both held their home countries’ leadership accountable and worked to obtain the facts and the truth.

Meanwhile, both Ressa and Muratov worked under belligerent authoritarian governments, where multiple of their colleagues were harassed, threatened and murdered for their reporting.

When we say the “war” on free speech, it’s not figurative. This is a war.

A journalist’s role is far too often undermined. Many are quick to criticize and attack them, yet journalism proves itself essential to upholding democracy.

During this “war on free speech,” journalism has evolved into a dangerous professional field, especially in countries with overpowering and hostile governments.

Journalists are killed in multiple countries for doing their job. If not, they’re attacked or threatened because of their work – even in the U.S. 

We can’t continue to disregard the effort and peril involved in a journalist’s job. Journalism requires bravery and a desire to push for the truth – it’s not, and never was an easy nor safe job.

With the Nobel Peace Prize received by two journalists this year, recognition has been received where it has long been overdue. 

The prize is symbolic of not only the growing importance that journalists carry, but also their bravery in pushing for the well-being of society.

These fights aren’t for the sake of journalists themselves, but rather they’re deeply rooted in the journalists’ desire to provide for the people. We, as journalists, fight for the truth and the freedom of expression not for ourselves, but for our people.

Journalists strive to uphold democracy by providing essential information. It is our top-of-the-list priority.

We are aware of most of the information we know because of journalists. Without journalists, would we know much about anything going on today? 

We’d know little to nothing, possibly living in absolute chaos. Journalists pull us back from that.

Obviously, the U.S. couldn’t nearly compare to countries such as the Philippines and Russia in terms of the consequences journalists face. We don’t have a hostile government that will resort to extreme measures. 

Nonetheless, we are still at war. Journalists in the U.S. continually receive harassment and threats, especially recently with the acute political polarization. 

Journalists and the media are arguably the two most hated things in the country, primarily due to the decreasing trust in the media and the abundance of  “fake news” allegations.

While our own war on free speech is prevalent and growing in severity, we have to remember that the job of journalists is essential to our society’s well being. 

The baseline of our roles as journalists is to find the truth and provide it to the people. We, as current journalists, do our job for the sake of our community. 

No journalists means no information, and consequently, no democracy nor freedom of expression. 

As we’re at the brink of chaos in this war on free speech, remember the importance of journalism and what we get out of it. Journalism can sustain our society by informing its members and giving them the means to make better decisions.

Our job is just as crucial and it’s time to respect journalists and their work. 

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