With print news sales trends defying all expectations, the rise of niche publications repeated accusations of “Fake News” at the highest levels, paywalls, and state-sponsored disinformation, journalism has had a choppy ride in 2018. Business Optimizer asks what next for journalism in 2019?
The President of the United States persists in repeatedly calling press and television journalists “the enemy of the people”.
For a nation built on four pillars of democracy – Judiciary, Executive, Legislature and Media – this is serious stuff. Especially given what is happening to the Judiciary right now.
When right-wing neo-fascist news opinion websites gain the same credence as established media outlets with a commitment to independent and unbiased reporting, this is as much as a problem for journalists as it is for the public trying to make sense of their output.
Sadly, the United States isn’t the only country where journalism appears to be in crisis. When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrested more than 150 journalists following 2016’s failed military coup against him, it seemed things couldn’t get much worse for journalists in the country.
The murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi proved that notion to be wildly optimistic. Yet while Erdoğan presses the Saudis for answers, domestic journalism continues to suffer.
Meanwhile, the Mafia mastermind behind murdered Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is being protected by powerful criminal interests and most likely will never be identified, much less stand trial.
The moving final words of Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk failed to raise the international outrage they should have done. The campaigner against police corruption died last month after an acid attack left her with burns covering 40 percent of her body.
In his final column in the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi lamented the death of a free press in the Arab World. Given the lead being presented by the US President now, journalists must work hard to ensure that we won’t be lamenting the death of a free press in other places around the world soon too.
But it isn’t only journalists who shoulder a responsibility to protect this vital fourth pillar in Western democracies; it is incumbent upon us all to fight for a free and active press and, with that, the assurance of safety for the dedicated reporters filing their stories.