Ukraine’s horrors show the importance of a free press reporting facts

Look at the pictures of the massacres in Ukrainian, bodies strewn on the streets of Bucha, hands tied behind their backs, bullet holes in the back of their heads execution-style, and thank God for the journalists who risk their lives every day to bring you the truth in its rawest and ugliest form.

“Fake news” is what Russian President Vladimir Putin would call it, and any journalist who dared report it would be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Fortunately, American journalists do not risk jail time for telling the truth. Instead, they face an onslaught of verbal and often physical attacks and are labeled “enemies of the people” by American politicians and commentators, using terms favored by Soviet and Nazi dictators.

John Winn Miller
John Winn Miller

Now, consider for a moment the damage wrought by those who would have you believe journalists make up “fake news,” when what they do is expose inconvenient truths and outright lies with facts.

Facts are not opinions. They can’t be faked. Like good science, facts must be verifiable and withstand the scrutiny of others repeating the same discovery process. This is what journalism is: reporters ask tough questions or take painful pictures and videos, verify information through multiple sources and experts, and tell/show readers what they have learned and what questions can’t be answered.

That is what is happening in Ukraine. Brave journalists from all over the world are documenting and verifying each other’s reporting–some at the cost of their own lives–so we know for a fact that atrocities were committed in areas once occupied by the Russians. As a result, we don’t have to take any government’s word for what is happening; we can see it in real-time and make our own judgments.

We may find fault with some of the reporting. Unfortunately, mistakes and misinterpretations can always happen in the middle of such dangerous events. It’s like taking a snapshot of a fast-moving train: you don’t know where it came from or even where it is going. All you can do is report what you observe at the moment.

The Yucatan Times
Newsroom



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