Award-winning Journalist and Executive Director, Allison B McKenzie, Delivered a Speech at Loyola College on World Press Freedom Day

Living in the present world where Media, both visual and print, plays a vital role in dispensing accurate information to everyone there is a significant rise in misinformation. The role of the press in providing ethical and accurate journalism is more vital now than ever before. 

The Executive Director's take on Ethical Journalism in the Modern Environment:

On May 3rd, International World Press Freedom Day, the US Consulate general, Chennai and Loyola College invited award-winning reporter and Executive Director of the International Press Institute, Alison Bethel McKenzie to stress the need of fair play of Journalism in a modern media environment and the effects of social media. The internet has essentially and convincingly changed the nature and the ethics of Journalism.  “We live in an extraordinarily important time. Our profession is under attack by all manner of institutions and individuals who don’t understand what we do, how we do it and why,” said Alison. Journalists are threatened every other day despite the laws that protect them. There is more violence against journalism in recent times. 

Allison brought to light the distressing statistics according to the International News Safety Institute, in which over 115 journalists worldwide were killed doing their jobs in 2016 alone. And India was ranked eighth with 5 journalists killed in 2016. Many journalists are also behind bars for doing their job. Allison admits that the freedom of journalists should be used responsibly, but she firmly believes that journalists should not be threatened or attacked for recording the cardinal truths of the world. 

“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 event had 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" and it was moderated by Alexis Wolff, information officer, US Consulate. The audience comprised of teachers and students of journalism along with editors of other local newspapers in the city. Issues of the power of advertising filtering into the print media, the role of media in the spread of false information to the public were also discussed. The discussion led to raising an important question - whether journalists should inform or influence, the long-standing debate of subjectivity or objectivity in journalism had most of the panelists leaning towards the latter. 

 

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