Freedom of the press is exercised more widely in digital media

Traditional journalism feels threatened by digital media. On the occasion of the world commemoration of this guarantee is celebrated on May 3.

Freedom of the press is exercised more widely in digital media
The freedom of the press is exercised more broadly in the digital media. Photo by The Climate Reality Project / Unsplash

In the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, social-digital networks have opened the space for ordinary citizens, where they can comment, express their opinions and learn about other points of view. They have increased freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

The progress made by a democratic society in terms of freedom of the media, there is progress because for decades, and almost throughout the last century, it was threatened and coerced by political and economic powers.

This right is exercised more widely in digital media -which have a short trajectory- compared to traditional ones, because Internet portals are not exposed in the same way to pressures on the concession, as in radio and television; that is, the authorization to broadcast if the editorial line does not please certain groups of power.

The Internet, so far, lends itself more to freedom, but as the commercialization of news space increases, there will be more pressures from groups of advertisers and political groups", the reason for which it is foreseeable that censorship will increase.

World Press Freedom Day on May 3

This event is commemorated on May 3 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The date is propitious to evaluate this guarantee worldwide, to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the performance of their profession.

According to its website, in 2022 the international organization and the Republic of Uruguay will host the annual world conference of the ephemeris in a hybrid format from Punta del Este. Under the theme "Journalism under digital siege" the impact on freedom of expression, safety of journalists, access to information, and privacy will be discussed.

When taking stock of the digital media, some verify the information, but others do not because they are more interested in the profitability of their space and disseminate that which gives them more users and publicity, so they publish volatile, superficial, or misleading news.

Traditional journalism feels threatened by digital media and is looking for new business models, for example, selling information space in the digital environment, since newspapers traditionally rely on advertising, and today they are losing it. It is living, in this sense, a period of transition, although the digital divide is still large, and large groups of the population access the news through radio, television, and printed newspapers.

In Mexico, there are more newspapers than in sister countries, but with low print runs and few readers; on radio, the audience in the country is still wide, with almost 45 percent of national coverage; while on television, it is also significant, since in open television it is 95 to 97 percent, according to data from the Federal Institute of Telecommunications. Mexico has a vast and important media industry, but in terms of quality, there is much room for improvement.

Latent risk for the freedom of the press

Currently, numerous attacks and murders of journalists are related to organized crime. When working on information related to drug trafficking activities, they are exposed and unprotected.

This risk increases in states such as Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Guerrero, and Michoacán, which are markets for the drug trafficking business. In several areas of the country, colleagues have commented that there is an atmosphere of fear, of great fear due to the threats they receive and that they feel they are not sufficiently protected.

Fear of drug trafficking groups limits freedom of the press. While in past times, such as Porfirism, Carranza's regime, or recently the so-called "dirty war", the State was the great censor of journalists, today it is the criminal groups.

The guild has been more demanding in recent times only because of the siege and murders of its members. Now there are demands from many journalists in a more evident and visible way since they have manifested themselves against these problems occurring in Mexico; however, a greater union unity is still lacking, a stronger and more consolidated union in this demand.

There is also a need to reinforce some instruments such as the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior.

Source: UNAM