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Journalism and truth

Good journalism committed to the highest standards of keeping truth as the ultimate guidepost to gather and present facts has never been more complex than it is today.

We live in an era that embraces a highly sophisticated arena of communication devices that provide those with devious objectives to spread misinformation to the degree where truth can be blurred, creating an extra burden on journalists worldwide.

Whether it is large or small jurisdictions, getting at the truth is a never-ending and often dangerous business, especially In areas where people in powerful positions frown on being questioned about anything, with the potential of revealing something they would prefer to keep out of the public view. This is a situation even the best of countries often experience.

Without inquiring journalists, it is not uncommon for truth to be pushed under the nearest carpet. In dictatorial regions, journalists must be careful because uncovering truth can be seen as a threat to a style of government that forbids criticism in any form.

In most democratic countries where people are allowed to question authorities regarding matters that affect the people, they often depend on the free press to dig deeper in areas where there appears to be blatant disregard for facts by certain people in powerful positions.

In the political arena in most free countries, there will always be those who are willing to treat as gospel what some politicians say without question. On the other hand there will also be those politicians who believe in truth and who are willing to sacrifice their careers to defend principles that promote democracy and freedom.

More importantly, there are those people with no voice outside of their right to vote who know the crucial role they play in choosing whom they prefer as leader —whether it be for the country or merely for a particular district. Voting is a right that should never be made more difficult in a move seen as an attempt to disenfranchise a certain section of any community.

As the pandemic is still causing serious problems in many parts of the world, there are signs of progress shown in areas where vaccinations are seen by health authorities as helping to slow the rate of infections. So a little light in the tunnel of what has been a nightmare for countries, including Bermuda.

Again, what most people really want is the truth on how best to move forward during a time when there is confusion over the wearing of masks and the reopening of activity that involves closer contact between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. That is an issue in many countries.

There seems to be general agreement worldwide with health officials that vaccination makes it more difficult for the virus spread. The role of journalists in what is referred to in journalism class as a running story remains very much a global crisis because until things improve in areas where the pandemic is critical, the rest of the world cannot lower its guard.

Apart from the pandemic, journalists in America are dealing with a political situation that some observers have deemed a potential threat to democracy in the country. While that may seem an overly strong assertion, it is deeply troubling when an elected official who happens to be a Republican, openly described the January 6 attack on the Capitol Building in Washington as a tourist day, and nothing more.

Beacon of hope: Joe Biden (File photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

One was left wondering whether truth mattered any more. That is because throughout America, and much of the world, there was witness via live cameras to a mob of Donald Trump supporters crashing through police barriers with a view to taking control of the building that most represents all that democracy stands for.

People died that day. Although the madness was eventually brought under control, such activity was deeply disturbing because there were cries at one stage to take the life of the Vice-President, and to harm other officials.

Although the new administration of Joe Biden is seen as a beacon of hope for the future, despite enormous challenges on all fronts of American society, there is lingering concern that beneath the surface there are those who are closet Confederates and who yearn for another civil war over true justice and freedom for all.

As long as the free press remain vigilant in keeping truth out front, no matter the political consequences, hope will remain alive in efforts to make the world a better place for all.

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Published May 29, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated May 27, 2021 at 3:33 pm)

Journalism and truth

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