June 20, 2024

Journalism under attack

The death of Russian dissident, politician and journalist Alexei Navalny sent shockwaves through the world when announced last month. According to Russian authorities at the IK-3 penal colony where Navalny was interned, he suffered “sudden death syndrome,” a catch-all term for sudden cardiac syndromes. 

Numerous suspicions have arised surrounding the death of the beloved activist who was seen a day prior joking in court, according to Reuters. Later that day, Navalny was given 15 days in solitary confinement for refusing to give up his pen to a prison guard. 

Russian officials said the next day Navalny suddenly collapsed during a walk and passed away shortly thereafter. 

Navalny was previously poisoned in 2020 by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) with a Soviet era nerve agent, Novichek. Russian President Vladimir Putin vehemently condemned and denied the claims, though Navalny’s doctors at the German facility where he received treatment remain adamant they found trace amounts in his blood. 

Unfortunately, Navalny is one of many voices of opposition that have been silenced by their oppressors. 

According to the Washington Post at least 78 journalists have been killed since Israel’s invasion in Gaza began. Others, like Motaz Azaiza, have warned they may have to suspend their work as Israel’s forces continue to lay siege on the strip, forcing civilians further south. 

Under International Humanitarian Law, protection is granted “to civilians and civilian objects,” including war correspondents, yet journalists abroad and domestically have continued to suffer verbal and physical attacks. 

Donald Trump, Republican candidate and former president, has been an outspoken critic of the media since the beginning of his first campaign in 2015. Throughout his three campaigns he’s continued to alienate himself from journalists and media outlets, including members of FOX News. 

In 2016, Trump mocked a reporter with arthrogryposis who had criticized Trump for claiming Muslim Americans in New Jersey celebrated during the 9/11 attacks. Since then, Trump has mobilized his supporters and driven an anti-media agenda that deems journalism critical of Trump as “fake news” or a “hoax.”

In 2022, Trump released his own social media platform after being banned from many of the mainstream platforms. The president, who was once famous for his stream of consciousness tweets live from the White House, now posts similarly on his own platform from his Mar-a-lago resort. 

Just weeks ago, Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million to columnist E. Jean Carroll, who he was found guilty of having defamed. Carroll wrote a book where she alleged Trump had sexually assaulted her during an encounter in the 90s. Trump responded by saying the book should have been sold in the fiction section. 

Former FOX News anchor Tucker Carlson traveled to Russia in early February where he became one of the first western outlets to interview Putin since the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war. 

The lengthy discussion was uploaded to Carlson’s platform “The Tucker Carlson Network.” 

The staggering difference in treatment between Carlson and the journalists in Gaza or Ukraine who have been forced to flee their homelands has sparked an international conversation about the importance of journalism and the treatment of journalists. 
To voice support for journalists in war zones, students can contact representatives, senators and local officials. A list of representatives by zip code can be found here. Contact information for all 100 senators can be found here.

Author

  • Josie Speakman

    Josie is a first-year Political Science major with a Spanish minor on a Pre-Law track. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching movies.

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