Silencing journalists is silencing a community: Alison Bethel McKenzie

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published May 4, 2017, 3:21 am IST
Updated May 4, 2017, 3:21 am IST
The panel discussion was moderated by Alexis Wolff, Information Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai.
Alison Bethel McKenzie  speaking at the event.
 Alison Bethel McKenzie speaking at the event.

CHENNAI: Award-winning American journalist and media educator Alison Bethel McKenzie stressed the need for fair play of journalism to augur well for development and argued that those who ‘silenced’ journalists ‘silenced the voice of the community’”

Though freedom of speech and national security are vital issues that could not be ignored, newspapers. Media should work out strategies to report in a responsible manner and desist from inciting violence as the radio ‘reporting’ had done in Rwanda. “There are few professions where you risk losing your lives because you are seeking to report or publish the truth… in worst places when people silence the journalists’ voice, they silence the voice of that community, especially when journalist report for the betterment of that community. That’s where the distinction lies,” she said.

 

During her interaction with students at the Loyola-ICAM College of Engineering and Technology here on Wednesday, during an event held under the joint auspices of the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai and Chennai’s Loyola College to commemorate World Press Freedom Day 2017, Ms. Alison said not only the media, even those resorting to social media should display a sense of social obligation.

Ms. Alison, who had a word of praise for India, remarked, “ the beauty of India is that you have so many newspapers, large number of readers...people still read newspapers and the circulation is in millions. This shows, newspapers are very valued.”

“This World Press Freedom Day, there is even greater need for communities to support independent, free and fair journalism around the world. Physical and verbal attacks on journalists are increasing at unprecedented rates, and we continue to see more and more online attacks of journalists, particularly female journalists. Going forward, we will keep up the fight against attacks on journalists and push for the arrest of those who murder journalists just for doing their work,” Alison Bethel McKenzie said in her remarks on “Ethical Journalism in a Modern Media Environment.” It was followed by a panel discussion with senior south Indian editors on the topic: “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s Role in Advancing Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies.”

U.S. Consulate General in Chennai’s Acting Consul General Ariel Pollock inaugurated the event. Rev. Dr. Alangaram Arockiam SJ, Superior, Berchmans Illam, Loyola College, introduced the keynote speaker and panelists.  

The panel discussion was moderated by Alexis Wolff, Information Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai.

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