Press Freedom Heroes

With the emergence of the digital age, many predicted the “death of journalism”, if not completely, then certainly in the traditional, boots-on-the-ground, press jacket-on, version of journalism.

To be fair, the conclusion was based on the media trends of the last decade. Big tech continued to eat advertisement money that was the bedrock of media organizations, the shift to digital consumption of media led to the slow decay of print and broadcast, and the emerging class of content creators, who communicated and commented on news from the comfort of their home on the platforms of their choice, was considered the final nail in the coffin of traditional journalism. With demagogues like former US president Donald Trump proudly ushering in a “post-truth” era, this conclusion seemed foregone; everything was a subjective narrative, and we didn’t have the ability to establish what is objectively true.

However, the Palestinian Genocide being carried out by Israel – and the systematic deployment of every media trick in the book to manufacture consent for the carnage – has exposed the limits of this post-truth world. Real, principled journalism is still needed, and journalists who risk their lives to report atrocities are heroes of the information age. It is quite fitting that the Palestinian journalists covering the war in Gaza have been awarded the 2024 World Press Freedom Hero award by IPI and IMS.

Recognizing their bravery and sacrifice is important, as foreign correspondents were banned from entering Gaza, without them, Israel’s massacre would be carried out in the dark. They stood against the vast machinery of Zionist media – from the UK to the US – and managed to turn the tide of public opinion. This came at a cost, over 105 journalists and media workers have been killed in the region since the start of the war eight months ago.

When legacy organizations like the New York Times are awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting one can see how stacked the deck is against these brave journalists. Administered by the now infamous Columbia University, the Pulitzer was given to an organization that told its staff not to use words like “occupied territory” and “ethnic cleansing”, and one that has existed to justify US imperialism since its inception.

People like Al Jazeera Arabic’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, whose wife, son, daughter, and grandson were killed in an Israeli airstrike, deserve the highest honors.

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