By Alex Zoellner ‘19
Currently, in 2019, there have been 8 journalists killed worldwide, 4 of which have had confirmed motives. The President attacks journalism, labeling it as “the real enemy of the people.” In countries, like Mexico, journalists are threatened and subsequently killed by gangs, in order to maintain control over the flow of criminal information. In multiple countries such as; North Korea, Burma, and Cuba, censorship of both journalists and the community at large ranges from imprisonment to restrictions on internet access. It has never been easier to be informed and misinformed in human history, subsequently, fake news is at an all time high. But, not all hope is lost.
Surveys show that high school student support, in the U.S, for the 1st amendment is the highest it has been in the last 15 years. Roughly, 91% of high school students believe that individuals should be allowed to express unpopular opinions, in general. This does, however, come with some caveats. For example, roughly 36% of students believe that bully speech should be allowed in public, while only about 30% agree to this online. Caveats such as these, paired with a deep rooted belief in such freedoms show both the need for quality journalism and a deep understanding of the world of journalism. In addition, individuals and communities alike are fighting for their rights to freedom of speech and the press across the world, demonstrating a concrete resolution towards the acquisition of these aforementioned rights. All-in-all, looking at these circumstances and situations, it is very difficult for one to deny the necessity of freedom of speech and the press, at any level.
Ultimately, freedom of the press, and speech as a whole, is an ever changing conversation that has different meanings across all demographics. As such, over the next couple of weeks, I will be releasing numerous Op-Eds as part of a series that addresses the state of journalism, in terms of education, freedom of speech (and restrictions thereof), the changing world of journalism, and what the future looks like for all facets of journalism.