By Sanah Mehta
“Without journalism there can be no democracy.” The Chair set the tone of the committee with these words in the background guide, and we knew what to expect as session began. The topic to be discussed today was Journalist Rights, and Chile believes that, “Freedom of press is and should be guaranteed. All voices should be heard!” In many countries, the press is attached to and is censored by the government, and any journalists violating this code are either severely punished or subjected to death. The Russian Federation spoke really fast to make her views on ‘journalists dying gruesome deaths in explosions,’ heard in the 30 second speaking time. She said, “The only way to silence a journalist is to silence them.”
In countries like the US, the press functions independently, but often is subjected to criticism from the government. Questions are raised about their credibility and often people, including President Trump, have highlighted their displeasure with journalists (“Fake news!”).
There was talk about a regulatory body to set up for journalists to verify their stories. UK suggested for a uniform standard to be set up, without governmental interference so that freedom of speech is not violated and the stories are always fact checked.
Belarus asserts that development journalism is necessary for accurate and pure journalism and to maintain national identity. Ultimately, the body needs to agree on an internationally-applicable definition of press freedoms to protect the rights of journalists.