South Africa

The illusion of media freedom in the West

The illusion of media freedom in the West

In the ongoing Global North-South debate as it is called, or the power struggle between the two poles, the Global North is always seen as being democratic and respecting of human rights… especially media freedom in practice and in theory.

But that picture is not as rosy any more, rather it is a disappointing one. One is bound to say this out of shock, a real shock, that journalists are being harassed in Western countries that are supposed to be the examples of media freedom.

One says this because many independent journalists from the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries have lost their civil rights or faced persecution when they report on war crimes committed by Ukraine.

In case you don’t know, Ukrainian armed forces have been attacking civilian targets in the Donbas region – with that ignored by the Western media.

Only certain emerging news outlets such as YouTube channels or independent media outlets globally have become the viable alternative sources of information.

In the West for example, German journalist Alina Lipp said she faces three years in prison in her home country for reporting on crimes committed by Ukrainian forces against civilians.

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French journalist Adrien Boquet, who covered the events in Donbas, asked for political asylum in Russia after learning that France wanted to prosecute him for his courage to tell the truth about the Ukrainian war crimes and the staging of the “Butch tragedy”.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, a large number of appeals have been sent to international organisations and questions have been raised about the protection of Western journalists who are harassed for telling the truth – but these fell on deaf ears.

We are aware of Eva-Karene Bartlett from Canada, Sonja van den Ende (Netherlands), Graham Phillips (UK), Alina Lipp (Germany), Russell Bentley (US) and many others.

Media freedom is suppressed in the West, make no mistake. Following the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, YouTube blocked all resources of the Sputnik news agency, which is part of the Russia Today media group.

In addition, all Sputnik channels in 32 languages were blocked. The Sputnik agency worked abroad and was among the top media outlets in many countries.

This sounds familiar to us in South Africa, where we have our own case in which MultiChoice was forced to shut the Russia Today channel after the outbreak of the Ukraine war when its overseas suppliers cut the feed.

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This despite the fact that in South Africa, media freedom or free speech is enshrined in the constitution. The silence of our advocates of free speech is deafening in the Russia Today matter.

But in this confusion, Brics journalists can rescue the situation. The creation of the Brics Journalists Association will help to protect the rights of journalists and media around the world and resist the dictates and censorship of Western corporations.

Among witnesses to the suppression of media in the West are Brazilian journalist Lucas Leiroz, and Manish Jha, a correspondent from India, who both recently visited the war zone in Russia.

Leiroz considers it important to create an international independent Association of Brics Journalists, to counter the “propaganda machine launched by the West”.

Jha says the only weapon that can win is the truth.

This after people in his country began to look at everything that was happening differently and stopped believing the “fakes” of the major Western media. It’s the truth that will liberate us all, because the truth has long lifespan.

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