Orfi Media team talks: Stop hating on the press
We’d like for you to get to know the Orfi Media team. So, we’ve asked the guys to write a short blog post on a subject close to their hearts. To close out the week, communications manager Andy takes his turn with a passionate defence of the media.
Did you know that a 2018 study found that Britain ranks among the worst countries in west Europe for the freedom of its press?
Did you know that just last month, both the former Labour leader Ed Miliband and members of the House of Lords tabled bills criticised as being counter to press freedoms by culture secretary Matt Hancock?
Do you really know what a free press gives to our country?
Like many things, it’s hard for the casual observer to know the value of a free press until it’s gone.
Journalists are among the most disliked professionals in the country, not far behind politicians and police officers. And, sure, at times they don’t help themselves.
Sensationalism turns people off newspapers on a day-to-day basis, while scandals such as the News of the World’s phone hacking have caused potentially irreparable damage to the industry’s reputation.
Add to that the London-centric approach of most big publications, and it’s not hard to see why many people have no love for journos.
Journalists provide a service that is crucial to society, and that’s not just because they keep the public informed on everything from sports results to foreign affairs.
Think of the major scandals of 2018 so far. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data. The Windrush generation and the deportation of people who have lived in the country for 50 years.
Look at the investigation into Donald Trump’s potential collusion with Russia in the US.
It is the work of investigative journalists that brought these to light. Not just in terms of bringing them to public attention: journalism discovered allegations of wrongdoing and tipped off authorities.
Journalists chase the truth and combat corruption. Without them, people in power have free reign to abuse their position.
You see this in Russia, where the media is state-sponsored and propagandist. In Turkey, where a weapon in Recep Erdoğan’s consolidation of power as president has been a crack down on the press.
And with so much information out there on the internet, the role of the journalist has perhaps never been more important. We need an impartial filter on the stream of ‘fake news’ nonsense.
People get sucked into conspiracy theories about the impartiality of the press, about journalism being part of a plan to keep the public passive. What rubbish.
Journalists don’t print lies. And if they tried to, editors wouldn’t let them. Of course, they can can choose to use quotes and sources sympathetic to their views. And occasionally they may just get things wrong. But neither of those things are the same as openly printing lies.
So much is going on across the world that has the potential to change our lives forever. It’s so important that we keep ourselves informed about what it is going on. Otherwise, if things go wrong, what right do we have to blame anyone else?
And to get that information, where do you turn? To journalists.
So next time you hear the press described as vultures, the next time you hear someone slagging off the Daily Mail and its millions of daily readers, the next time you see the abuse that journalists face daily on Twitter – think about the alternative.
Our press may not be perfect, but they’re free. And that means something.
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