It’s time for journalists across the Western world to realise that reactionary governments do not believe in a free and open press:
The International Federation of Journalists said today it is alarmed by mounting attacks on media and whistleblowers by Western governments trying to hide potentially illegal or damaging actions and statements.
“It is unacceptable to see countries like the United States, Great Britain, and Denmark trying to intimidate and stifle independent journalism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, “while others, like Germany and the Netherlands, are caught out snooping on media and tapping the telephones of journalists.”
The IFJ says that a global crackdown on investigative journalism led by countries that are supposed to be models of democracy is repressive and is depriving people of their basic rights – “most importantly the right of citizens to know what their government is doing.”
As I’ve written before, journalists have a responsibility to challenge, provoke and reveal government “secrets”, use of excessive power and potential illegality. During the fictitious “war on terror” – not unlike the former “threat” from the Soviet Union – patriotism or “taking sides” has no place in the pursuit of truth. In fact, the best reporters relish the challenge of holding government or institutions to account, no matter the supposed cost.