observations and opinion
The best, perhaps only, defence for democracy is a free press.
Trump’s mentor Vladimir Putin knows that too well. Which is probably why so many Russian journalists “die mysteriously.” The picture above shows a room full of photos and ghosts, of reporters and columnists who asked too many uncomfortable questions about the plutocratic tyrant.
They’re all dead now.
With each dead journalist, another leaf falls off the tree of of liberty.
They aren’t asking questions anymore. They aren’t tracking down emails about meetings between political candidates and foreign operatives. They aren’t relentlessly pursuing truth or publishing scathing editorials. They aren’t trying to get to the truth.
The journalists in that photo tried to shine light on the Russian regime. Now Russia is in twilight. And its masters quietly tug the strings in Washington DC.
What do you think the new man in the White House would do to reporters if he had the chance? He doesn’t hide his intentions too well, so we cannot claim surprise as the bulbs start to get unscrewed and the rooms go dark in DC.
But it’s not only tyrants who crush free speech — it’s you and me. We have let convenience, commerce and greed do it too (our own greed) by failing to pay the small amounts necessary to sustain journalism.
Different countries need to take different approaches to funding their free press, before democracy “dies mysteriously.” But we have to pay with our dollars for good reporting, because if we don’t, we will pay with our liberty and lives.