Any attack aimed at silencing a journalist not only violates that person’s human rights, but is also an affront to the collective deeply held beliefs in freedom of expression, government spokesman, Kyriacos Koushos said on Friday.
“We have to do all we can to help journalism regain its proper place, help news organisations rediscover their role and especially help the public return to trustworthy, reliable journalism,” he told participants in the Council of Europe and Cyprus organised conference on artificial intelligence and the challenges for media and democracy.
“We all recognise and celebrate the positive advancements that have resulted from the technological boom of the last 30 years, while simultaneously acknowledging the need for checks and balances,” he said.
He explained how as a government spokesman and through his daily collaboration with journalists and news organisations he was fully aware of how search engines, social media platforms and other online services had taken over large parts of the distribution of news and information.
“This has had an impact on the business models of traditional journalism, the resources available for journalism as well as on journalists’ working conditions, rendering them more vulnerable. The Covid-19 outbreak has further amplified the challenges facing media, journalists and the communication space in general,” Koushos said.
He said that there is no doubt of the key role of journalists and other media actors in shedding light on unlawful activities, corruption, crime and abuse of power often leads to their exposure to intimidation, threats, harassment and violence.
“Preventing journalists and other media actors from pursuing truth or encouraging self-censorship is exacerbated by aggressive rhetoric, disinformation/misinformation campaigns organised by certain political and private actors,” he said.
“We have to do all we can to help journalism regain its proper place, help news organisations rediscover their role and especially help the public return to trustworthy, reliable journalism.”