Media freedom is not one of those areas where too many cooks spoil the broth. The debate about freedom of expression – of which the role of the press is an important sub-section — has gone mainstream over the past couple of years. Around the world, free expression has crashed against issues of privacy, confidentiality, sensibility, and a panoply of other concerns. The black and white cases of egregious censorship, involving violence, intimidation and abuse of law, remain as pressing as ever.
Now thanks to social media, and the availability of instant information, free expression has become more complicated and varied. In the UK, the ongoing phone hacking scandal has focused attention on poor journalistic standards.
Therefore the arrival of a new organisation devoted to assisting and promoting “good” journalism is welcomed. The Journalism Foundation, led by former Independent Editor Simon Kelner and funded by the Lebedevs — owners of that newspaper and others including Russia’s Novaya Gazeta — intends to sponsor and assist media, starting in Tunisia and the English Midlands. It is an eclectic first stab, but only the beginning. Its most valuable contribution will be “hands on” support for those wishing to hold the rich and powerful to account. The boundaries between “established” and “citizen” journalism are breaking down, and initiatives such as this help to hasten that process.
Through our reporting and our advocacy, Index on Censorship leads the way in promoting free expression and combating censorship in all its manifestations. We welcome a new partner in this brave and not-so-new world.