You might think the times of oppression had passed, you might think we've got plenty of free choices on our hands. I might think just the opposite.
Generation Y grew up along with technological progress, they witnessed the establishment of Facebook and made it a habit to go on-line for the latest news updates. Yet still, more and more journalist find themselves in the situation, when they have to fight for the truth, when they have to fight for your, (yes, my dear reader), for your right to be able to know what is going on around the globe.
Three Al Jazeera journalists have been detained in Egypt since December 29, 2013, and their colleague Abdullah Elshamy has languished in prison without charge for six months. All of them were accused in offenses that include "member of a terrorist organization, disturbing public peace, harming the general interests of the country." Finally on June 23rd, an Egyptian court convicted journalists and sentenced them to seven years in prison. This is one of the brightest examples of what might happen to any person, who tries to tell the world what's on their mind.
As we can see from the Committee to Protect Journalists' report, a total number of 1059 journalists were killed since 1992. 37 % of them were covering war, 20 % corruption, and the biggest percent of murdered reporters (44 %) were concentrating on politics. Fifty-one percent of them were working for the newsprint and a scary number of correspondents (66 %) were killed deliberately!
It is important to understand, that not only professionals can be victims of war in the name of propaganda.
One by one officials closed down almost all the independent media in Russia, while the world was concentrating on Ukraine. Now, you either watch and believe the channels that are supported by the government, or you browse the web in a long search of alternatives. To get to some survivors of the Kremlin's cut you have to use hidden mirror links. They also passed a law, stating that almost any "like" or "repost" on Russian social network vk.com, can be considered as a call to extremism. If proven guilty - person will face up to five years in prison.
As of September 2012, countries with standing national bans on YouTube include China, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan. The Turkish government blocked the country's access to YouTube, after banning Twitter earlier this March, in an effort to suppress anti-government sentiment prior to local elections (June 1st, 2014 access to the web-site appeared to have been restored).
It is spreading like a disease -- people are being cut off from the sources of information that might tell just little too much.
Now imagine sneaking around your neighborhood, like someone who committed a crime, just to get the morning New York Times or any other newspaper/magazine issue. Seems harsh and not fair, isn't it? But this is exactly what is going on in some parts of the world, and this is what can be slowly happening to us here, in United States. I think by recognizing somebody else's problems it is easier to prevent our own difficulties.
Every news report, every editorial shows you the information from their own point of view, sometimes not so much unattached from some sorts of goal. But let's face it - whenever we do things in our personal life, we most of the time try to do it right, but without hurting ourselves and/or our ambitions. Same logic projects into our professional lifespan. Many channels and papers concentrate their and our attention on overseas struggles, at the same time closing eyes on what we have to fight with inside our homeland. Those, who are supposed to guide us, keep telling us to "move along," and "stop worrying." And we move forward, because there are already too much on our shoulders. We've got student loans, we have to pay our rent and make sure our children get into the best school in the area.
It is the matter of a choice, which people of our generation can make. Either we look for truth and build a strong nation, where both a professional journalist, and any other person has a right to express themselves without facing a danger of being locked up in a jail, or we become careless and glued to reality TV-shows nation. But can we consider ourselves truly free and independent people living in a democratic country then? I don't think so.