4 books that explore press freedom
May 3 is celebrated every year as World Press Freedom Day, but the importance of practising press freedom in a country surpasses just one annual occasion. In order to recognise the value of free press principles and honour the efforts of journalists, here are four books that explore the stories of journalists, and the issues surrounding press freedom.
Challenging the News: The Journalism of Alternative and Community Media
Red Globe Press, 2011
There are many different branches of journalism, and this interesting study by a former journalist explores some of the alternative styles and avenues that operate outside of the corporate mainstream media sectors. Forde's 10-year-long study provides valuable insight into the journalistic procedures used by independent and local news organisations. None of the reporters she speaks with would consider themselves heroes, yet every day they perform innumerable acts of bravery, overcoming obstacles to provide independent reporting for the cause of social justice all across the world. These journalists are essentially filling the gaps left behind by mass media outlets.
Dial Press Trade Paperback, 2011
This novel explores the lives of the staff at an English-language newspaper in Rome, Italy. It is divided into 11 chapters, each of which is a self-contained story that focuses on a different character. The book opens with the story of the newspaper's editor, who is struggling to keep the publication afloat amid declining readership and dwindling advertising revenues. Subsequent chapters introduce a variety of other characters, including a veteran foreign correspondent who is past his prime, a copy editor who dreams of becoming a writer, and a stringer who takes on dangerous assignments in war-torn countries. Throughout the novel, Rachman captures the frenzied atmosphere of a newsroom, the sense of urgency prevailing in the air, and the sweet camaraderie that develops.
Press Freedom in Contemporary Asia
Tina Burrett and Jeffrey Kingston
This book examines press freedom restrictions and ways that reporters and independent reporting are put in danger in modern Asia to dissect the region's progress towards transparent governance. It investigates the functions of traditional and online media and how they are often abused by the government and special interests. It is based on in-depth case studies done by academics and journalists, and contains country-specific chapters on Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as the rise of populist and nationalist threats to press freedom in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan. With a good dose of regional research, this book will interest readers who strive to understand the evolution of press freedom in Asia, with a special emphasis on the sensitive role played by democracy.
The Double Life of Katharine Clark: The Untold Story of the Fearless Journalist Who Risked Her Life for Truth and Justice
This book has been meticulously researched and authored by Katharine Clark's great-niece, who sheds light on a significant portion of 20th century history that has gone mostly unreported. It demonstrates how a determined, fiercely independent woman who was devoted to truth, justice, and freedom risked her life to spread the truth, ultimately transforming both herself and history in the process. Set in Poland, it is a gripping account of a journalist's passion and dedication to help record and publish a manuscript and a collection of articles written and dictated by a senior communist officer, Djilas, who was detained and imprisoned for his criticism of the Yugoslavia government. It is one of the very few texts that highlight the role played by women in the field of journalism and press, and how selfless these warriors are in their profession. What makes this an interesting read is how it blends nonfiction within a thrilling narrative, painting an almost unreal story for the readers.
Maisha Islam Monamee is a student of IBA, DU, and a freelance journalist who likes reading, scribbling, and blogging. Follow @monameereads on Instagram.