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A recently released UNESCO report confirms comprehensively what many of us have sensed: the rise of social media and digital communication platforms have created an existential challenge to independent media and journalism. “Journalism is a public good: World trends in freedom of expression and media development:...

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?

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.

No apologies for quoting at length from “The Media Isn’t Ready to Cover Climate Apartheid” by Michelle García (The Nation, 17 June 2020). While praising the public service ethic of many media outlets, whose coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic has been exemplary, she notes an apparent reticence or inability to delve in depth into its impact on the most marginalized. She also questions media preparedness for the greater crisis to follow:

Tharu-speaking Indigenous journalists in Nepal have enhanced their news and reporting skills, and production of news in Tharu has increased, thanks to a capacity building project undertaken by WACC local partner Prachin Srijansil Aadibashi Samaj. The project, geared towards helping Radio Gurbaba FM – an Indigenous community radio...

“For the past twenty years, the main issue restricting ublic debate in terms of Turkish laws has been the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists, writers and intellectuals on the grounds that they contribute to violence and terrorism.” This quote comes from a report by English PEN,...