Saskia Rowley
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Kyiv (Ukraine) 2020

At the 49th Molodist-Kyiv International Film Festival held 22-30 Augustr 2020, the prize of the online Ecumenical Jury in the International Competition of Full-Length Feature Films went to Canción sin nombre (Song Without a Name) directed by Melina León (Peru, Spain, USA, 2019).

The antics of the outgoing US president have raised profound questions about the role of mass and social media in society today. How do public interest media – the kind that publish information and points of view on important issues that affect policies, lives, and livelihoods – stay independent?

People the world over are willing – some are even praying for – a free and fair election in the USA on November 3. In ordinary times, for that to happen the media must also be free and fair. But these have not been ordinary times. Until very recently, the news media have been hobbled and fettered.

October 19, 2020 — Covid-19, migrants, and the climate crisis apart, public interest media is today’s hot topic. In the USA, Hungary, and the Philippines – to cite just three countries – some politicians have labelled media outlets critical of their policies and actions “fake media” or “fake news”. Among others, Russia, Turkey and China openly censor and supress what might be called media dissent or media activism: holding governments, corporations, and their leaders to account.