Speaking truth to power in dangerous times

Maeve Harris's avatar
Maeve Harris

In an era of misinformation and government propaganda, quality journalism faces existential threats. That’s according to journalist and author Vincent Bevins, who warned that the business models that once supported robust investigative reporting have crumbled.

“There’s no longer a business model for journalism in general, but especially for international journalism and serious global investigative reporting,” asserted Vincent.

The author argued that with fewer journalists holding those in power accountable, governments find it easier to control the narrative.

“With less and less people dedicated to doing the kind of thing that I’m supposed to be doing, it becomes much easier for the government of the United States or the UK, or any other of the powerful countries … to simply say something – to leak some claim about some ‘bad country’ to the press – and then for there to be no pushback,” Vincent claimed.

The result is a steady decline in quality coverage. “International journalism is worse than when I started 15 years ago, and I think it’s going to be worse in five years unless we make a concerted effort to try to figure out how to actually fund [it],” Vincent warned.

The author said the problem is fundamentally political rather than technological: “As a society, we have to decide if we want journalism, because I think if we don’t have journalism, we’re not gonna have democracy.”

With propaganda on the march in an era of rising authoritarianism, protecting quality journalism may be more vital than ever. As Vincent made clear, the business models that once supported the fourth estate continue to crumble. Finding a way to fund speaking truth to power is an urgent challenge of our time.

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