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When the watchdogs are put to sleep

Posted by: | September 15, 2014 | No Comment |

A journalist has a duty. A duty to tell the stories of those with muted voices. A duty to make known the trials and triumphs of the world. A duty to keep watch over those in power and ensure our liberties are protected and our citizens are informed. A duty to report the truth.

A journalist also has the “protection” of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

But sometimes this “right” is taken away, and what is left? A world of those in power suppressing the knowledge of the everyday civilian.

A world in which what we hear is not the full story, what we see are photoshopped images, and what we know is not the truth.

What comes from a world like this? Chaos. Tension. An naive population. A submissive people.

We have seen this in China, in the Middle East, and many more places. The result of such restraints is a country of many ruled by few in which freedom is simply a dream and compliance is the reality.

And now we see it here at home. Most recently, in Ferguson, Missouri, multiple journalists covering the officer shooting of an unarmed boy were abused and/or detained. On what grounds? Simply that of doing their jobs — documenting and reporting the truth.

As one journalist accounted via Twitter:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/18/robert-klemko-ferguson-arrest_n_5688334.html

On the same night, another journalist tweeted while being arrested at a McDonalds in Ferguson:

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 2.26.01 PM

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/263209/huffpost-washington-post-reporters-arrested-in-ferguson/

 

The question here lies not in why did this happen, but what does this mean? Where is our country headed?

Riots in the streets, journalists being arrested, military armed police officers detaining civilians — this is neither Egypt in the height of the Arab Spring nor Gaza in the midst of civil war. This is America.

under: Comm 455, social media
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