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COTR celebrates Press Freedom and Student Journalism

by Ida Büsch

Today, on the 3rd of May, we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day to remind all governments of their commitment to protect the freedom of the press and to support the media against restriction and abolition of its freedoms. In 2020, the media finds itself in an exceedingly difficult position: in the age of polarization and fake news, quality journalism is fighting for credibility, while some governments take measures of censorship and restraint during the Coronavirus outbreak.

“The coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse, and reliable information,” stated The Reporters Without Borders.

What will the future of the media look like? A great deal of it depends on the youth, whose ideas and beliefs will inevitably shape the future, and, with a population of young people currently at a peak, it already shapes the present.

“One of the largest problems regarding media rights for youth is simply lack of coverage of children and young people in the news,” stated UNICEF in their report on Children, Youth and Media Around the World.

Young journalists are important because they have better comprehension regarding the issues that interest and move the youth, this includes the problems that they face as well. The usage of social networks among young people is increasing and young journalists can play an important role in shaping arising online discussions with values like fairness, truthfulness, and authenticity. Moreover, an appreciation for freedom of speech and expression among young people is pivotal for press freedom, young journalists can act as multiplicators for these standards.

Student journalism gives students the chance to express their views and opinions freely. It empowers young people to make their voices heard and gives them the ability to make a change and start new debates among students. University students are known for their political activism and forward-thinking. Student journalism can accelerate this and make a significant impact in the real world.

Our democracy is built on diversity and a great variety of different worldviews and opinions that are all equally important and necessary for quality journalism.

The journalists that will shape the media of tomorrow are today’s youth. Student journalism plays a big role in acquiring skills that are now more important than ever: global and cross-cultural awareness, media literacy, and critical thinking. Apart from teaching young journalists academic skills, student journalism is forming students into responsive and proactive citizens.

On this day, May 3rd, in 1991, the Windhoek Declaration was adopted. It is a statement of press freedom principles made by African journalists and was followed by a series of such declarations from all around the world, which is why it has proven to be very influential and crucial to press freedom. At Catcher on the Rhein, though we are just a student magazine, we want to make our own contribution to uphold these values and produce quality journalism.

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