Thursday 25th of April 2024

on a virtue signaling media ...

on a virtue signalling media ...

They buried Lyra McKee with a pomp and circumstance she would never have expected and would certainly have despised in her – and my – native Belfast on Wednesday. The most promising, talented and fearless young independent Irish journalist of her generation was gunned down at age 29 by two bullets while covering a very minor and typical riot in Derry City on April 18. A couple of dim and drunken young Irish Republican extremist suspects who could not have hit a barn door at point blank range were also immediately rounded up and accused of her murder.


Of all the shots supposedly randomly fired into the crowd that night, the only person to be hit - twice - was the most important and incorruptible investigative reporter in Ireland.


Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders head: 'Journalism in Europe has been weakened'

Jamal Khashoggi*, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Jan Kuciak: Their murders are among the most serious attacks on press freedom and a symptom of a deep-rooted problem, says Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders.

Almost one person in two in the world does not have access to freely reported news and information. As Europeans, we can count ourselves lucky that we enjoy "this freedom that allows us to verify respect for all the other freedoms." 

In the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), our continent is by far the one where freedom of the press is the most widely observed. But let us not turn a blind eye on the fact that, in recent years, a dam has burst and this cornerstone of our democracy has been seriously damaged.

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul made us aware of the sometimes horrifying violence inflicted by some countries on journalists.

However, Europe is not immune. In Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered because of her investigations into a money laundering scam. In Slovakia, Jan Kuciak was killed because he was investigating a large-scale tax evasion scheme. These murders are among the most serious attacks on press freedom. They are also the symptom of a deep-rooted problem.   

Journalism in Europe has been weakened by relentless, and often hyped-up, anti-media rhetoric by some political leaders, either in power or hoping to get there. Coverage of the yellow vest protests in France has provoked a profound dislike of journalists, sometimes going as far as rape threats directed at reporters. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbanuses similar distrust to his advantage when he recites the "fake news" argument to justify his refusal to speak to media outlets that do not support his own party.

We cannot resign ourselves to this situation. Specific problems have been identified on which Europe can take strong action. Legal harassment, for example. Some people abuse the law to launch multiple civil or criminal proceedings, applying such pressure on journalists that they manage to silence them. This problem can be solved in 2019 if the European elections drive up some political will to strengthen freedom of the press throughout the continent.   

EU commissioner needed   

Like all public policies, the protection of freedom, independence and diversity of journalism must be embodied. We are campaigning for the next European Commission to appoint a commissioner with a clear mandate to take on this challenge. From Bucharest to Madrid, from Nicosia to Stockholm, from Dublin to Vienna, civil society needs a high-level representative to whom it can turn whenever this essential freedom is violated.

He or she would maintain a robust and continuous dialogue with member states, carrying concerns about the right to reliable news and information beyond our borders and initiating necessary EU legislative reforms.   

We will be able to judge the extent of the commissioner's ambition by the way in which he or she uses — or does not use — the political weapons available for the battle. There are many ways of breaking away from the well-trodden paths. For example, RSF has proposed using competition policy, an important lever for the Commission.

It is time to overcome conflicts of interest caused by corporate mergers, giving businesspeople an opportunity to divert news media from their proper function to serve a private agenda or those of their friends in government.

We call on all candidates running for the European Parliament in Strasbourg to ensure the Commission leadership acquires such political will. We need MEPs to bring the legal framework up to date. Another example: The liability regime of online platforms for their content management policies is established in a 20-year-old directive. It is time to update and uphold this framework laid out by the e-commerce directive to keep up with new technological challenges to roll out a Europewide regulation which would enact rules that favor the freedom and reliability of news and information.

Press freedom must be defended

Freedom of the press is at the heart of the democratic aspirations that brought the members of the European Union together. By defending it, Europe is protecting its political model, both internally and against external threats. It must equip itself with the real means of defending its values.

Europe can also provide new democratic guarantees in the areas of communication and information, which now rely too much on online platforms' policies. This is the hope of the European heads of state and government, who supported, with other international leaders, the International Initiative for Information and Democracy in November 2018 based on RSF's Commission on Information and Democracy.

To the same end, Europe can also enact real financial and administrative powers of sanctions to punish international predators of press freedom as the last session of the European Parliament asked.

During this campaign, some speak up for a "Europe power;" some stand up for a "Europe protector." The time has come to breathe new life into a strong political union and make freedom of the press a core value of the EU, putting it at the heart of the bloc's treaties and institutions and at the forefront of today's campaigns.

Christophe Deloire is secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders


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*Note: Khashoggi was an Empire asset. He got murdered by a friend of the empire for getting to nosy into the working of this friend, the Saudis. The furor about his murder has now been "forgotten" by the Empire.



the war on social media...


The sheer weight of articles attacking social media, from multiple angles on multiple topics, speaks to the fact it has become a thorn in the establishment side. As such, it falls to us in the alt news to defend it.

That’s not to say the Facebook is perfect, or even a good thing. I’m not arguing that corporate monopolies are great, or that you should let Mark Zuckerberg do whatever he wants with your private information. Clearly, Facebook and the other social media giants aren’t benign, they have already censored on demand and their huge corporate reach is truly frightening – But we’re not just talking about facebook. Or Twitter. Or Google.

“Regulating” social media does not mean “making Facebook nice”. Facebook will still harvest data, they will still monitor us and breach our privacy. “Regulating social media” means limiting freedom on the internet, and nothing more.

Not just users, but also publishers. Increased “regulation” will hit start-ups and newer platforms much harder than the established giants. Gab and Dtube and Bitchute and the like are much more likely to be shut down than facebook.

The freedom to communicate is far too important to let personal objections to a certain platform colour your attitude.

Likewise, it would be foolish to let partisan politics define your position on this issue. Just because the new breed of Democrat – AOC and her peers – are attacking social media, doesn’t mean we should join in. “Concern” about the “issues” of social media will come from both sides. The conservative right and the progressive left. As in all such things, both “opposing sides” will suggest the same solution to a made-up problem. Left and right meet in the middle and have the same core concerns.

All aspects of the establishment serve to protect the state at the cost of the individual – to increase their power at the expense of ours. If we cheer on the censorship and control of the social networks, we will be helping them do just that.

They will call it “regulating social media”, but they mean regulating us.



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