As journalists, it’s our job to give the public information they need to know, and even with ethics involved, here in the United States, we’re allowed to report on a variety of topics due to freedom of speech.
But what would happen if we had those rights stripped away – or didn’t have them at all? What would journalism in America look like?
Not having freedom of speech or freedom of the press is reality for many countries throughout the world.
Reporters Without Borders released a study of the top countries in the world with limited press freedom, with Tunisia topping the chart. The report is based on the idea of privately-owned media and freedom of expression not existing in these countries.
An example of limited press freedom is blogger Yassine Ayari, who went under trial in January for “defaming” Tunisian military, according to an article published by Al Jazeera.
“Ayari was charged and sentenced under Article 91 of the Tunisian Code of Military Justice, an open-ended clause that prohibits the defamation of the military, attacks on its honour and the undermining of morale,” the article said.
Ayari was the fourth person arrested for defamation of the military since 2011, the article said.
However, with limited press freedom, some countries have gotten creative with how they express opinion about certain topics.
In the 1980s, Nicaraguan government underwent a revolution, and many of the citizens responded by painting graffiti on walls in cities.
Juanita Bermudez told Public Radio International about the “golden age” of graffiti during the revolution.
“‘The government supported murals as art form, and people saw them as celebratory,’” she told IRP.
Inside sources, a political news organization, said freedom of expression can help hold the government accountable. A free press can uncover political exploitation and account on policy performance.
In the face of threats to press freedom, the world’s citizens have found new ways to have their voices heard.