Tony Hall: Targeting Of Journalists ‘Utterly Shameful’
Tony Hall has said the intimidation and violence directed at journalists across the globe is “utterly shameful” and called on the industry to stand together to defend and champion its vital role in society.
Speaking at News Xchange 2018 in Edinburgh this week the BBC Director-General, said journalism was “under siege” from powerful forces and that some journalists had lost their lives as a result of the growing threat.
Mr Hall said: “But, of course, our colleagues face less extreme violence too. Every day we see aggression, almost a campaign to denigrate our craft. On Twitter there are constant anonymous threats to journalists simply reporting on opinions that some people might not want to hear.
“Some of the material that journalists have had to face is – quite frankly – disgraceful. It is an attempt to intimidate people and stop them doing their jobs.
“For the sake of all journalists – we need to defend our role – seeking out the facts, no matter how inconvenient they may be for others. Because journalism matters – whether you’re in broadcasting, in the press or working online.
“Whether (in this country) you are The Mail or the Mirror, the Sun or the Guardian, The Times or the Telegraph, the Express or the Independent – we are all in this together. We’re an essential part of society. We all matter.
“And we need to stand together on this. If there are ways we can work together to defend journalism, the BBC stands ready to work with others across the industry to do just that. But I believe public service journalism has a unique role in the mix.”
Mr Hall concluded: “Don’t let anyone tell you our long, honourable trade is no longer fit for purpose. I have huge confidence in our future. The big picture is a simple one: the public believes in public service journalism.
“There’s never been a more important time to be a journalist. There’s never been a time when our audiences need us more. We all have the right to be able to access information we can trust – because it’s only by being informed that we can make effective choices.
“As journalists, our role is to empower people – to enable them to make up their own minds. We must help counter threats to democracy globally challenging the scourge of disinformation and fake news – and holding those who produce it to account.
“It’s the struggle of our time. A battle we have to win. I believe all of us who believe in the principles of public service have a responsibility to stand together. To fight for the integrity of news.”