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Threats to journalism

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The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization warned of an increase in violence against, and the intimidation of journalists reporting on the environment and climate.

A report released by UNESCO on World Press Freedom Day said seventy percent of environmental journalists from 129 countries that were polled in March reported experiencing “attacks, threats, or pressure” related to their job. Of those, two in five subsequently experienced physical violence.

“Without reliable scientific information about the ongoing environmental crisis, we can never hope to overcome it,” UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

“And yet the journalists we rely on to investigate this subject and ensure information is accessible face unacceptably high risks all over the world, and climate-related disinformation is running rampant on social media.”

Attacks, threats, or pressure against journalists, regardless of their beat, has been part of the job for ages, especially in the less developed parts of the planet. These threats and violence is an indication of how much some people or groups are threatened by the truth that particular line of work often exposes.

In some countries, those threats and pressures rarely escalate into physical attacks, mostly because the government has shown a commitment in protecting its people, regardless of vocation. However, in other nations, which unfortunately includes the Philippines, a culture of impunity cultivated by a lackadaisical justice system means those who issue such threats know that they can easily get away with almost anything, even murder.

Another World Press Freedom Day has passed, and yet true press freedom remains a pipe dream in many countries, ours included. Because until journalists can do their jobs without fear of any repercussions from the subjects of their reports, knowing that their government has their back at all times, that country’s press can never really be considered free. Hopefully our government is working harder to make press freedom a reality in our country, for it will benefit everyone who can have access to unfettered information on the important issues that affect our lives, if ever we can achieve that state.*

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