Via Index on Censorship:
We are used to telling ourselves by now that journalism is a manifestation of a human right — that of free expression. Smartphones, cheap recording equipment, and free access to social media and blogging platforms have revolutionised journalism; the means of production have fallen into the hands of the many.
This is a good thing. The more information we have on events, surely the better. But one question does arise: if we are all journalists now, what happens to the privileges journalists used to claim?
Official press identification in the UK states that the holder is recognised by police as a “bona fide newsgatherer”. As statements of status go, it seems a paltry thing. But it does imply that some exception must be made for the bearer. The recognised journalist, it is suggested, should be free to roam a scene unmolested. One can ask questions and reasonably expect an answer. One can wield a video or audio device and not have it confiscated. One can talk to whoever one wants, without fear of recrimination.
That, at least, is the theory. But in Britain, the US and elsewhere, the practice has been changing. Whether during periods of unrest or after, police have shown a disregard for the integrity of journalists’ work. The actions of police in Ferguson have merely been part of a pattern.
FJP: As of August 22, 17 reporters had been arrested in Ferguson.
That’s Will Oremus, Slate’s Senior Tech Writer, on the discovery that over 4,000 BuzzFeed posts mysteriously disappeared this year.
Founder/CEO Jonah Peretti confirmed that this was true, as BuzzFeed embarked on a project to take down sub-par posts earlier this year. His caveat, however, was that this was no breach of journalistic integrity as BuzzFeed began as a tech company, not a media company.
Point is, they employ journalists, produce an increasing amount of original reporting and long-form journalism, and they’re not the only media company to have tech roots or projects. And when that’s the case, it’s not a good idea to delete content from one part of your site without comprising the integrity of the other, unless you find a way to be very transparent about it.
Related: BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti Goes Long (on Medium with Felix Salmon).
We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.
We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.
A message from Diane Foley whose son Jim was executed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Via Facebook.
Foley was originally kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 while covering that conflict for Global Post.
Foreign Policy: Social Media Companies Scramble to Block Terrorist Video of Journalist’s Murder
The crackdown provided a vivid example of the pressure on social media companies to police violent terrorist propaganda, but at the same time it showed the difficulty they have in stopping individuals intent on spreading violent images and rhetoric.
Washington Post: Foley video, photos being scrubbed from Twitter
[T]he very viral abundance that makes Twitter so powerful — a half billion tweets are sent a day — makes it difficult to police.
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter.
We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you https://t.co/jaYQBKVbBF— dick costolo (@dickc) August 20, 2014
See also #ISISmediaBlackout on the power and propaganda of imagery.