What has happened to World Press Freedom Day ?

World Press Freedom Day, Sunday 3RD May

Much of the mainstream media have ignored World Press Freedom Day.

The reason is the appalling lack of press freedom there is at the moment, especially during this covid-19 crisis. The very mention of press freedom would be an awkward reminder of how non- existent it is, so the way to deal with it is to pretend this special UN day does not exist.

That is a major cause for concern.

It is very apt to bear in mind a couple of the themes which World Press Freedom has this year:

“Journalism without fear or favour”

“Independent professional journalism free from political and commercial influence”

It is also so important to never forget the time honoured saying of John Philpot Curran, Thomas Jefferson, and many others: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

It is so relevant to remember the history of press freedom and where it went wrong.

As we witness the daily press conferences of the UK and indeed many other governments, which other country had daily Press Conferences using their national flag in the background?

It was in fact Nazi Germany, instigated by Joseph Goebbels, in 1933.

This article on press freedom focuses how those with a certain political view have high-jacked all semblance of press balance and impartiality to close down debate on any alternative viewpoints.

It covers the need to:

End the media lockdown of free speech on covid-19

Let those who oppose the lockdown speak !

Let the public have all statistics, not just the ones the government wants to be seen

All other issues relevant to covid-19

It also asks the question:

Will the lockdown policy lay the government open to billions of pounds of compensation claims?


Other free press issues

This article is also about the concern anyone in journalism should have about the lack of honesty and accountability by the government on the issue of covid-19.

One glaring fact which cannot be ignored is that the government has had virtual total control of the media agenda from the very start of this crisis.

It is worth recalling, just a few weeks ago, before he was ill, Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, at one of his press conferences, concluded it by thanking “our media friends for their support.”

This was further epitomised by the BBC bosses asking their interviewees not to put government Ministers under too much pressure over the coronavirus crisis ( according to veteran broadcaster John Humphries in his Mail article on 11th April).

This summed up not just the BBC’s attitude, but what the whole mainstream media has been like throughout his crisis.

Every media organisation, editor and individual staff should be asking whether they could be improving free political expression on the anniversary of World Press Freedom day. And what they will be doing to change over the coming months?

Basically, the media has not been questioning and scrutinising policy detail as they should be, but only asking the most timid or the most superficial of questions, all fundamentally following the government’s line.

This has all resulted in the government carrying out a successful misinformation exercise, to the extent that the public have not been told the truth.

What the public deserves to know is why non- lockdown countries like Taiwan and South Korea have been so successful compared with the UK, and why those countries who have non-lockdown polices are barely mentioned as not having lockdowns.

The impression has been created that the whole world is in involved in lockdown policies and that economic and social lockdowns have been the only way to fight the covid-19 virus.

It is the height of dishonesty yet much of the media, far from questioning the medical merits of economic and social lockdowns, have been actively encouraging such policies.

Yet economic and social lockdown policies are already having frightening consequences on all fronts for the UK.

Who is criticising the government for not thinking about all these factors before they rushed into this disastrous lockdown, which has no proven medical merit ? Virtually no one !

This is letting the public down tremendously.

We now have a hysterical climate of fear amongst some of the public. This was never justified in the first place, but was started by the government, and then festered and fostered by much of the media.

Any thinking person knows that all of this media manipulation is just not right.

It is known that key government advisor Dominic Cummings wanted the shutdown.

Does his influence scare the media that so much that they feel they have to toe the line?

It is worth going back in history to 1933, when Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda Minister, assumed control over the style and content of the entire newspaper industry by holding daily press conferences. Journalists who failed to bring their reporting into line with official demands were threatened with banishment from the profession and persecution.

There are modern equivalents of how journalists can feel threatened and intimated, so such possibilities cannot be ignored.

In Nazi Germany, the government line was put forward under the banner of the national emblem.

The media put a gloss on German policies, and ignored the more unpleasant realities of their situation.

By 1940 the propaganda Ministry had even more control of what the media said.

In the UK, the daily press conferences, full of justification for government lockdown measures, are also under the emblem of the national flag. In the UK, the government has taken on authoritarian powers unsurpassed in peacetime. We do not even know what pressures have been put on the British media by the government, be it by a form of “D” notice or similar. But certainly something is not right.

One Editor remarked that there was a “D” notice on April Fool’s stories this year. That would sound a bizarre claim, yet this year it was necessary to go to online media to find them.

It is important to learn from the lessons of history and for British journalists to hold the government to account and not end up being the mouthpiece for government policy.

Thinking people know that the government have made an horrendous policy blunder on the economic and social lockdown, but rather than being honest and admitting it, the government are doing everything they can to exempt themselves from scrutiny, and to find an exit from it which saves their own credibility. In the meantime, they continue with their relentless brainwashing deception of the British public, who deserve much better. The truth would be a start, not just some of it !

The media should be calling the government to account, but they are not doing so as fully as they should be.

Even the many other policy blunders the government have made in relation to how they have dealt with covid-19, have not had the media attention they really merited. There have just been a scattering of exceptions to this.

Worse than this, any political or medical commentator, or indeed any reasonable intelligent person who does not agree with the government’s lockdown policy, is simply locked out because such no views which diverge from the government’s line are allowed. They are No plat-formed, a worrying trend in politics today to stifle informed debate.

The government knows that their lockdown policy will collapse if it is put up to any serious questioning, and this is why they simply want to avoid it.

The government are even not taken to task by the media when they thank the public for obeying their lockdown rules. The media know the public have no choice anyway. Non- compliance means fines or imprisonment. Why are media so silent on these fundamental issues.

The only government who have the moral right to thank their citizens are those who make requests to them which they comply with under their free will, such as the Swedish government, not a government which issues dictates which are the law !

We have draconian anti-libertarian rules, imposed by what has become an authoritarian state.

Why have the media been so meekly complicit in all this?

Why have the guardians of freedom, become the guardians of those who oppress freedom?

I am therefore hoping that more in the media who have integrity, will have the courage to question the lockdown policy in detail.

And there is so much more, why are the public denied so much information:

On day to day matters, are not the public entitled to know the daily and culmative deaths from all causes, rather than just the covid-19 related ones?

Are not the public entitled to the full picture on covid-19 deaths:

The ages, sexes, ethnicities of those who have died

The specific areas they have died

The underlying conditions they had, in each category, in addition to covid-19

And if they did not have the main vulnerable category medical conditions, did they have any other medical or mental conditions?

How many of them were smokers or ex- smokers

How many had had the flu vaccine ( as you probably know, a study in the USA has revealed that a high proportion of covid-19 deaths are those who have had this vaccine).

How many Care Homes have had covid-19 deaths as opposed to the number who have not

How many hospitals are treating covid-19 patients and how many are not?

What are the other hospitals doing

What is the daily and cumulative number of cancelled operations and medical appointments for other conditions

How many hospitals and A and E departments have not had the closures put on hold due to the crisis

Then there is the issue of when the covid-19 virus actually started.

Many people in the UK claim that they had it as far back as October/November 2019.

If the virus has been in the UK for much longer, it would throw many of the government’s theories into the bin. When are such people going to be offered anti-body tests to verify if they had covid-19?

Studies in the USA have also shown that many more people had the virus than was originally thought, and that most of those did not even show any symptoms. It follows that as most people are not that affected, that the non-lockdown policies of South Korea, Taiwan, Sweden, Belarus and others have to have very strong merit, and that the UK lockdown policy has to be seriously questioned.

Then there is the issue of how individuals can protect and cure themselves.

The NHS website does have some good advice.

But government advice completely downplays the importance of the body’s immune system and the part natural and homeopathic remedies play in keeping this strong to fight off viruses.

It is crazy because they work for millions.

Those who advise on such healing methods are ignored by the media, which is not in line with two press freedom slogans for this year, which I referred to earlier.

The issue of do the big pharmaceutical companies have too much influence on government policies and bodies is also one which needs addressing ( and is spelt out in one of the World Press Freedom day themes).

Then there is the misinformation about vaccines, which the media do not question.

Why do the media not make it clear that vaccines do not cure, they only protect.

They also have many downsides and may be counter- productive in respect of a new virus which comes along.

It would also be very risky to bring out a vaccine which had been short cut to approval for use without normally accepted testing and verification programmes.

There is also no information about why a covid-19 vaccination would be necessary anyway, when the overwhelming majority of the public are not at any serious risk from it.

Why is there no questioning of how much money would be made by any producer of a vaccine and who would be vaccinated and whether the government intends to make vaccination compulsory?

Why is the media not questioning the government on their 5G policy?

The government maintains that the nationwide roll out of 5G does not affect the immune system and that it is “conspiracy theory nonsense” to suggest otherwise.

Any examination of the issue reveals that the tests carried out by Public Health England and others have been extremely limited in scope and that the authorities could be accused of dereliction of duty on the issue of public health safety. There have been no extensive tests on the short, medium and long term effects of 24/7 body immune systems to 5G radiation waves. These would take at least a few years. This has not happened and is why countries like Switzerland have called a halt on their 5G roll out.

The criticism of those who ask for public safety to paramount in respect of 5G is akin to the criticism of those who warned about the dangers to health of smoking. They, too, were accused of scare-mongering and spouting nonsense. With 5G it is a different potential health issue, but the same factors are at play, the government and big business interests trying to get their way for financial gain at the expense of public health.

It is a public health issue to find out if any of those who have died with a covid-19 connection, have lived in locations near to 5G roll out and 5G antennae. These questions need to be asked by the media.

It would be a relief if 5G was not a factor at all, but if it isn’t, why is the government ducking the issue and refusing to carry out the full and complete testing they should be doing?

Where is the media questioning of the detail about the consequences of the government’s lockdown policy:

About a week after the government’s economic and social lockdown policy, they admitted that they were in the process of working out the consequences of it in the many areas concerned.

These consequences are becoming more apparent on an almost daily basis. Rather than the media questioning this lockdown policy, it has been left to lesser mortals to challenge the legality of it, as is now happening with two pending Court actions against the government.

There is the major issue of what if the UK lockdown policy is proved to be a catastrophic blunder, does this lay the government open to legal damages claims by businesses and patients (who have not had operations and medical appointments), which could account to billions of pounds ?

This policy is not, however, wholly the fault of the government, as the opposition parties have all fallen into line and supported the lockdown policies, except on matters of compensation. The Labour party, at one point even advocated even more companies were shut down .

The media have also failed to castigate the opposition for not doing their job, that of holding the government to account, something they have in common with the media.

The stark reality is that there is a growing proportion of the British public who have never supported the lockdown policy, but no one gives them a voice, either in Parliament or in the media.

Even opinion polls on the subject are slanted, as with the latest YouGov one.

There is growing sense of unease which no government gloss and “we are in it together” sloganizing will dampen. “The Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Saves Lives,” dreamed up by a PR company after the start of the lockdown policy ,is wearing a bit thin. It is just patently a gross emotional misuse of the public’s love of the NHS, to promote their political lockdown policy. It is not even true anyway, yet where is the media questioning about whether this policy does not actually protect the NHS or save lives ?

What about the hypocrisy of the government and Parliament asking the nation to make financial sacrifices, yet any demand that British politicians do likewise has been squashed and censored by the media. MP’s took a pay rise on April 1st ( yes, April Fool’s day) and an increase in expenses, yet most of the public are suffering with pay cuts or even no jobs at all. The New Zealand Premier and her team took 20% pay cuts because they felt they could not impose cuts on others without doing so themselves.

The reason the media have not taken this up with the government is because the government know that doing so would open up debate on their lockdown policy, something they want to avoid at all costs.

There is also the issue of why is the mainstream media under the control of so few, compared with twenty years or so ago? Either control of global corporations, or, with government owned media, not having the freedom and impartiality they were supposed to have ?

There is much more which could be said on why the media should be doing more on World Press Freedom day. Every media outlet and every journalist knows what extra they could do for press freedom.

Please let them do it, not just on one day, but throughout the year and into the future.

Anthony Webber

Independent Political Commentator


07824 444604

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