Journalism in times of catastrophe

Without journalists and without the media, as determining agents in the public space and stimulators of social conversation, the pandemic would have been completely deregulated and would have become an uncontrollable plague.

 

It is now called an infodemic. The journalistic communication of information of a different nature on the catastrophic health crisis of COVID-19 has been stigmatized as a variant of the coronavirus. I insist: the exercise of journalism that has followed and continues the historical pandemic that broke out in a remote place in China has become a kind of sequel to the infection. Journalism about the pandemic is infodemic. Such an unfortunate term seems to refer, according to its opportunistic creators, to a disorderly abundance of data and news on the evolution of the massive contagion by COVID-19.

Journalists and the media would not have rendered a real service to society, but rather contributed to the confusion of citizens, to the spread of hoaxes and falsehoods and, therefore, we would be infodémic agents. We must prepare for a new revisionist attack on our profession, for a new settling of accounts in the populist style for our work in this catastrophe, a twist on the pressure of certain powers on our already diminished social reputation, on nature and quality. of our intermediation, on the very essence of our social function.

Journalism has been and is being in these catastrophic times one of those ‘ check and balances’ of democratic systems

However, again, journalism has been and is being in these catastrophic times one of those check and balances of democratic systems, on the basis of which we render an irreplaceable service in the dissemination of the instructions they impart the legitimate public powers and, at the same time, we behave –with the exceptions that gregarious sectarianism always marks– as the guardian dogs of democracy. It is time to reiterate the quote that José Luis Martínez Albertos reflected in his impeccable essay entitled The Thesis of the Guardian Dog: Review of a Classical Theory. It reflected the reflection of the president of the Press Complaints Commission of Great Britain, Lord McGregor of Durris: “My vision of the State is eighteen: if it is not constantly controlled, the Government always tends to tyranny, and its democratic form does not have a magic wand that make it something different. An independent press is the most powerful form of control, by sustaining a critical electorate – because it is informed – thanks to the promotion of transparency. ‘Publish and be cursed,’ said the Duke of Wellington: that is the responsibility of the press. ”

This indeclinable mission of the media has once again acquired its full meaning in the most critical moments of contemporary humanity. Without journalists and without the media, as determining agents in the public space and stimulators of social conversation, the pandemic would have been completely deregulated and would have become an uncontrollable plague. We have returned to mediate, to convey, to transmit, to establish a constant link between the event and the citizen; we have moved the messages; We have collected the heartbeat of the citizenry, and, again, we have had to denounce attempts at prior censorship (incredibly, we have suffered it) and faced the most serious and angry accusations of disloyalty due to the exercise of criticism of the public powers when have exceeded their functions,

The infodemic is neither an innocent concept nor an imaginative dialectical device

The infodemic is neither an innocent concept nor an imaginative dialectical device. It is a stigma, a reproach, a reproach, yet another, of the most avid powers of domination arising from populism, of the “hyper-leadership” that disbelieves of the mother of all freedoms, which is that of expression. Since 2016 – the Brexit referendum in June and the election in November of Donald Trump as President of the United States – journalism has been introduced into a true intellectual concentration camp in the collective imagination. The media is connoted as vectors of the worst establishmentand journalists as a class of corrupt, certainly sophisticated. The new gurus of political communication have been in charge of venturing these slanderous species, followers of the recent charismatic leaders and, it must be said, of the seditious and dissident “comrades” who work, now without masks, on that dark side that is that of disinformation and the slogan.

However, and although the media have been ruined (more than they already were), the infodemic has been and is being a revival of journalism, a direct demonstration, without simulation, of its need and its virtue, its practicality and of its democratic function. The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated all the worst topics against journalism and journalists – inaccuracy, sensationalism, intrusion, disloyalty, opportunism – although the deepest reality is that the monitoring of information has been and is being as the work of the lighthouse keeper on the shore in the stormy nights. We are ruined, we are meat – again – of ERTE and ERE, the business models of our companies continue to depend on finances outside the natural turn of publishing companies, that is, of sales revenue and transparent advertising, but we’ve been there, we’re still there. Because in catastrophes, in wars (this is being it), in troubled times, in historical episodes of sorrow, in times of tribulation, in human tragedies, in economic crises, in disasters that cause injustices In moments of tribulation and anguish, we are there, we have a job to do, we are demanded, followed, read, listened to, seen. The power of some lines, of a voice, of an image, remains invincible when the most painful circumstances corner the citizens. in times of tribulation, in human tragedies, in economic crises, in disasters that cause injustices, in times of tribulation and anguish, we are there, we have a job to do, we are demanded, followed, read, listened to, seen. The power of a few lines, of a voice, of an image, remains invincible when the most painful circumstances corner citizens. in times of tribulation, in human tragedies, in economic crises, in disasters that cause injustices, in times of tribulation and anguish, we are there, we have a job to do, we are demanded, followed, read, listened to, seen. The power of some lines, of a voice, of an image, remains invincible when the most painful circumstances corner the citizens.

Our epic is to do our job better when the difficulties are greater

Our epic is, precisely, to carry out our work better when the difficulties to execute it are greater, when the pressures to resign ourselves are more fearsome, when the wrath of power gets out of control and threatens us, when they want to dominate truthfulness and use she, when the homeland is power and is privatized and when pain equals us. We emerged from this tragic situation more dead than alive, probably many of our comrades will no longer be able to continue after this new wave of misery after the one that hit us – and almost extinguished us – in 2008. But we have complied. We are there. With assisted breathing. In well-being, in abundance, in success, it is probable that our work of intermediation will last, shrivel and decline. However,

This is journalism in times of disaster, the most valuable, the most authentic. “Publish it and be cursed,” advised the Duke of Wellington. We’ve done it. Perhaps it was the swan’s song, the verduguillo in the head, the last ten. However, if it has been – if this ruin is being predicted – it is preferable to fall exhausted and battered in the catastrophe and in the company of many of our fellow citizens than to do it in the mold of abundance and in the banality of irrelevance. Infodemic? Not! Journalism!

 

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