Life > Telling the truth is becoming riskier for some journalists

Posted on June 14, 2017

Image by Ryan Flambert

Meissa Haouari talks about the lack of press freedom in some parts of the world
All journalists should have the right to obtain, and deliver information that is in the public interest, without being at risk of harm.

However, that is not quite the case in some countries like Eritrea, where it’s impossible to report the truth without being a target of violence or hatred; 11 journalists are currently detained without being charged or tried there.

Iran is one of the biggest prisons for female journalists. In Kenya, Human Rights Watch organisations have documented 16 incidents of direct death threats against journalists and bloggers across the country between 2013 and 2017.

150 journalists are now imprisoned in Turkey. “Turkey is now the world’s biggest prison for journalists with dozens in pre-trial detention in harsh conditions on absurd charges,” says Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders. The non-profit organisation ‘promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.’

People are expressing their outrage on social media by spreading the hashtag #SaveTurkishJournalists. Also, a protest campaign took place last month, to free the journalists in the Turkish prisons.

President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the FBI should 'consider putting reporters in prison' is quite obviously a threat against journalists, and their profession

A story that shocked the world of journalism, was when British-Algerian journalist Mohamed Tamalt, died on December the 11th 2016 after going on a hunger strike, despite being diabetic. This was in protest against his imprisonment, after he was accused of posting poems on social media that ‘offended’ the President of Algeria.

Before his arrest, he ran a blog and was a freelance journalist based in London. He was reportedly arrested near his parents’ house in Algiers on June 27, and began his hunger strike the same day. On July 11 2015, he was sentenced to two years in prison and given a $1,800 (£1,400) fine.

Media freedom has seen as sharp decline globally. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the FBI should “consider putting reporters in prison” is quite obviously a threat against journalists and their profession.

I have the opportunity to do whatever I want, and many aspiring journalists like me don’t have that freedom

Brian Karem is a journalist who spent two weeks in jail for refusing to reveal a ‘’confidential source” when working as a police reporter in Texas. He said: “The threat is real. Trump cares very little about the free press. It’s scary and we need to speak out strongly against this because if you don’t stick up for your rights you lose them.”

As a young aspiring journalist, this makes me even more inclined to become one. People need to know what is happening in the world around them. It’s a basic human right. It frustrates me to see so many journalists being tortured and imprisoned for just doing their job.

I’ve wanted to become a journalist since I was 10 years old, because I felt that there wasn’t someone in the media that represented me, a female Muslim.

I’ve always had a passion for writing and current affairs. Reading through these stories about the torture journalists can face, I’ve come to the realisation that I am spoilt for choice when it comes to my career plans.

I have the opportunity to do whatever I want, and many aspiring journalists like me don’t have that freedom.

Meissa Haouari
Meissa is a student at Westminster Academy. She likes watching crime dramas and writing about current affairs. When she leaves school she would like to become a journalist.

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