The year 2020 was characterized almost entirely by the struggle of people and governments against Covid 19 However, the media and media workers have suffered not only from the consequences of the pandemic but also from Trump and others. Anyway, we hope for a good turnaround in 2021.
If we want to point out the most important events that the media encountered last year, the first place is the Corona outbreak. The top news in the media focused not only on Covid-19, but this pandemic significantly affected the media itself and the professionals in the media world. All movie theaters were closed and common cultural events and sporting events were canceled.
The leisure industry suffered significantly from the pandemic. Many areas of the leisure industry depend on the actual attendance of its users. But concerts and movie screenings, for example, pose a risk of contagion to visitors, so concert halls and movie theaters have had to be closed. In order to save such areas during the pandemic, serious action must be taken, for example by providing financial support to those working in this field or by vaccinating all sectors of the population. But today it is mainly about the news media.
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U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a swipe at the media in 2020. He exploited them to stir up crises. On Twitter, he condemned some media outlets. He called them illegal and claimed they were doing everything they could to portray the Covid 19 virus as horrible as possible and cause fear in the markets. Later he said in an interview he would like to write tweets, but most of the tweets he would regret later.
For Donald Trump, however, the media are not there to pass the time. He called them the “enemy of the nation” last year. The U.S. has the highest infection and death rates associated with the pandemic, and this despite the fact that this state likes to call itself the most powerful country. Meanwhile, Trump initially denied the danger of Corona and even mocked it. Trump had to put up with many accusations from the media and public opinion, and he also lost votes as a result. Therefore, he saw a way out in turning the tables and attacking the media.
However. Hopefully, the media will soon get rid of his attacks and Corona will disappear from the headlines during the new year.
The Covid-19 outbreak and the closure of labor and industrial sites have done serious damage to the cornerstones of the world economy. The worst off have been those facilities that have been unable to target an income. Their continued existence depends on supplies from other financial sources in other areas. Among the affected institutions are the media. In a country like Afghanistan, most media outlets are unable to cover their expenses from advertising or additional economic activities, or through government aid. As a result, they have had to close down because of the pandemic or impose even greater hardships on their staff, including journalists who were already financially poor under normal circumstances.
If, nevertheless, some media have been able to stay afloat, it is a testament to their conviction that they want to preserve the gains they have made in the realization of freedom of expression and media activity. These media deserve appropriate support. Hopefully, in 2021, the crisis that weighs on them will subside.
But now to a crisis in connection with news media that occurred specifically in Australia: Recently, namely, in this continental state, a statement of claim against the media empire of Israel-friend Rupert Murdoch was drafted and published on the Internet. It was signed by more than half a million users. The statement of claim followed a campaign that Kevin Rudd, ex-Prime Minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party had previously announced in a video. This video was widely shared and massively applauded on the Australian Parliament website last October.
In general, Kevin Rudd is attacked by the newspapers of the media group “News Corporation” which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. For his part, Rudd fiercely attacked the media empire of Rupert Murdoch in a video, saying that it has become a cancer for the domestic politics of Australia. Kevin Rudd recalled that in the state of Queensland, where he lives and which is a state with a great influence on the election results in Australia, all newspapers are owned by the media magnate Murdoch, and with the help of his media power he influences the direction of Australia’s domestic politics.
RSF – The organization Reporters Without Borders have written in their annual report about the violence against reporters and announced that in 2020 a total of 50 reporters were killed in the world. According to the report, the number of reporters who died in war zones has decreased, and the number of reporters who died in countries without war has increased. In total, 937 reporters have been killed in the last 10 years, according to the RSF report. It also said that a greater number of reporters were killed in countries considered to be in a state of peace, such as Mexico, Honduras and the Philippines, and that 84 percent of all murders of reporters related to their professional work were targeted and intentional. In 2019, the figure had been 63 percent. The most dangerous country for reporters in 2020 was Mexico. There, 8 reporters met violent deaths. Mexico was followed by Iraq with 6 victims and Afghanistan with five reporter victims. India and Pakistan each had four reporters killed. In addition, 387 reporters in the world are currently in prison; many of them for their reporting and research related to the Corona Crisis. More than 130 newspaper reporters have been arbitrarily detained since the spring of 2020 for reporting on the pandemic. They have been held for several hours to several days and in some cases put behind bars for several weeks. As an example, the organization for Reporters Without Borders, cites reporter Hopehul Chinonu from Zimbabwe. He was researching the sale of Corona drugs at high prices by the government and was brutally arrested in his home.
RSF’s report also pointed to U.S. President Donald Trump’s hostility toward reporters and the media, writing, “The term “fake news” that Trump often repeats is now being instrumentalized by leaders of other countries to suppress the media.”
The report by the Reporters Without Borders organization goes on to say that aggressiveness toward reporters and the media has worsened in the U.S., and that rarely before has someone as fierce as Trump attacked the media. Abuses toward the press during the Corona crisis have gotten just as bad, it said. In addition, he said, reporters seeking comment from the Trump administration on the Corona crisis were verbally attacked by him during the press conference.
Finally, we come to the annual report of the Council of Europe, consisting of 47 European countries, published in collaboration with civil organizations defending media freedom, which suggests that media freedom on the European continent is increasingly under threat. Just mentioned report shows that in 2020 there have been increasingly more cases of reporters being intimidated and even threatened with imprisonment or death. Named, in addition to Russia and Turkey, were some countries such as Hungary, Poland, Malta and Bulgaria as countries where reporters have particularly encountered harassment and threats and treatment that violates the principles of press freedom.
The report points out that more than 30 reporters have been beaten up this year and more than 100 reporters are behind prison bars. It cites dozens of cases registered regarding the violation of media freedom in Europe last year: for example, 33 cases of a physical attack, 17 cases of new arrests and detention, 43 cases of mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, and 2 cases of attempted murder of a reporter.
by Jeremy Abbott – American Correspondent – FN