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The Status Quo of Journalists Around the World

Journalists from 52 countries reflect on their biggest fears about their industry, their personal feelings regarding the profession and why freedom of the press must be protected.

#FutureofJournalism

     As a data-driven content agency, we work in communion with journalists forging what we hope is a brighter future for the industry. As part of that, we believe that content could play a role in measuring the status quo of the industry in order to understand how journalists today truly feel. We’ve seen first-hand the fundamental changes that newsrooms are going through in this era of digitalization, and we believe that the future of journalism should be defined by journalists themselves, not only the media moguls and their boardrooms.

In order to start a debate on the topic, we must first comprehend the myriad challenges that face modern journalism today. We came up with the idea to conduct this content experiment, as we felt it was long overdue to hear directly from reporters how they think the industry is faring, what they fear, and their take on why protecting the freedom of press is crucial for society.

To find out how journalists feel about their industry, we sent a poll to a diverse range of reporters around the world asking three simple questions:

  1. What do you think is the biggest threat to journalism today?
  2. In one word, what defines journalism in your country right now?
  3. Why should people care about protecting the freedom of press?

Those who chose to participate in the poll were then given the option to supply their name or remain anonymous. We received responses from 52 nations, and over 40% allowed us to personally quote them.

Our hope is for the poll findings to spark a conversation between journalists, who all face similar challenges, to find solutions by sharing experiences and sparking new ideas about how to bring innovation and stability to their trade – and perhaps even help educate the public about what a life without free-thinking journalism would look like.

“How journalists feel about their trade can be an insightful barometer into the state of mind of society at large, so it is alarming that the majority of journalists polled are so fearful about their employment stability. It’s also unacceptable that so many reporters live in fear for their safety, or of speaking freely, as we saw with the many journalists who wished to keep their answers anonymous for the sake of their own wellbeing.” comments Elizabeth Ryan, Head of Content at Sweet Spot PR. “We are optimistic that the best days of journalism are still to come; nevertheless, It is clear that reporters around the world are under threat and society has but one right option; to protect them.”

Below you will automatically view the global answers, and one region of the world. You can choose different tabs on both sides to directly compare each region.

Q

.1

What do you think is the biggest threat to Journalism today ?

Please feel free to download the charts below using the icon in the upper-right hand side.

Global Results

Regional Results

Q

.2

In one word, what defines Journalism in your country right now ?

Positive Words

Negative Words













Q

.3

Why should people care about protecting the Freedom of Press ?

Named Quotes

Anonymous Quotes

The rise of populist autocratic leaders of any extreme political stripe is only encouraged by encroachments on democracy, an essential component of which is an unfettered press. Two leading world superpowers - China and America - are currently circumscribing press freedom with an ultimate cost for trade progress the world over and a greater political risk to citizens' basic freedoms of choice.
Simon Greaves
Financial Times/FT.com - UK
Decisions that are made with only the knowledge of half-truths and falsehoods are always poor ones.
John Burgeson
Connecticut Post - USA
Because it was, is and always will be important to know what is happening
Anonymous
Dordrecht, The Netherlands
One of the reasons World War Two started was because the media dropped the ball and let fascism rise. History seems to be repeating it self.
Anonymous
New Zealand
Press freedom is essential for an as-close-to honest portrait of the world as we can have. It does not, however, exclude the press from being critically analysed by other bodies and held to account for ignorant or misleading reports.
Martin Newman
The Daily Telegraph - Australia
No free press - no freedom
Urs Walterlin
Swiss National Radio and Television (SRF) - Australia
Freedom is the basis of expression and communication
Anonymous
Argentina
Who is more likely to tell the truth? Donald Trump or The New York Times?
Anonymous
Melbourne, Australia
The public needs an independent source of information about the workings of local government, schools, businesses and the other important institutions that they interact with and rely upon on a daily basis.
Stephen Buel
Telegraph Media - USA
"We take the torch to the back of the cave. We tell your stories. we sign our names. We stand in court."
Debra Erdley
" Tribune-Review - USA"
People don't realize why freedom of the press is critical but it is. Democracies run on information -- good, solid, impartial, factual information. If people do not have free, unfettered access to information, they can not take part in the democratic process. You can't rely on the government to tell you the truth.
Anonymous
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Week in and week out, newspapers cover life — the joy, the sorrows, the successes and disappointments. We keep an eye on government, reporting and scrutinizing its decisions at all levels — school boards, city councils, county commissions, the state Legislature and Congress — to ensure elected public officials are held accountable to their constituents, to disseminate the information needed to make good decisions and be better citizens. We tell the stories of people and issues in our communities with a passion for truth, respect and compassion for those we interview, and an ethical responsibility to report with fairness, accountability and transparency.
Anonymous
Golden, Colorado, USA
Because it one of the cornerstones of democracy, indispensable in a free society
Joachim Riedl
DIE ZEIT - Austria
Freedom of press is freedom of the people
Aurore Mudiayi Bukassa
Belga News Agency - Belgium
if there is no evidence of truthful reporting, public and social trust is ruined
Anonymous
Vienna, Austria
Freedom of press has been proven an efficient instrument in the struggle against the construction of fake stories
Anonymous
Brussels, Belgium
Ever play the children's game "Kerplunk"? Freedom of the press is like the toothpicks. Remove them and all the marbles fall, everything falls apart. And the game's over.
Don Munro
Nova Scotia - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - Canada
Journalism is a watchdog of democracy but also sometimes a chihuahua barking at shadows. But people will miss it when it's gone.
Michel Marsolais
CBC/Radio-Canada - Canada
The press exists to serve communities before the government or politicians. We provide checks and balances.
Anonymous
Gaborone, Botswana
For having the good information, the truth
Anonymous
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
" Only free press can give you the opposite sides of every story."
Robert Giebels
de Volkskrant - The Netherlands
A world that cannot write facts cannot escape evil. And it is not just the journalist's responsibility to have the truth.
Fatih Polat
Chief Editor Daily Evrensel Newspaper - Turkey
Everyone has the right to provide people his true story or the story he believe is true. But everybody has the right too to know all the stories. All without any exception.
Anonymous
Italy
People should care about protecting the freedom of press because it's essential to reinforce all human rights.
Anonymous
Ivory Coast
Every journalist works for the people. Paychecks come from businesses, and orders from senior colleagues, but working for the people defines the job.
Paul Kennedy
IDEAS CBC Radio - Canada
Freedom of the press is the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship. Democracy requires that those in power are held accountable for their actions. Whether you agree with the opinion or the outlet or not, the freedom to express it is paramount. When the press is silenced, the people are powerless.
Jared Lindzon
Freelance Journalist - Canada
Press freedom really means you, as a member of your community, get an advocate whose job is to hold governments, corporations and others to account, expose wrongdoing and sometimes generate personal and societal change for the better. Without it, there's just too much opportunity for the aforementioned to go astray.
Anonymous
Ottawa, Canada
We are you. We are asking the questions you would ask if you could, pressing for clear answers, looking down the road for consequences. For the most part, we act in the public's interest. If we are muzzled, you will miss us, whether you realize that at this moment or not.
Anonymous
Montreal, Canada
A free, unbiased press is the very fundament for our democracy
Hans Peter Blicher
Editor in chief TV2 Denmark - Denmark
Look at the countries who practise the alternative to free press
Peter Møller
TV 2 DENMARK - Denmark
An independent and truthful press is one of the essential pillars of society. and we need to support journalists and whistleblowers alike to protect it.
Anonymous
Santiago, Chile
Good journalism is the primary bulwark against encroaching despotism, erosion of freedom.
Anonymous
Cyprus
Freedom of press is fundamentally for a democracy, and you shall not take it for granted with current government attacks i many countries, cuts in economy for public service media and the overwhelming competition from tech giants.
Kurt Strand
Danish National Radio P1 - Denmark
Protecting the freedom of press means protecting democracy
Antti Ylönen
Kainuun Sanomat - Finland
Because you don't want a world that is run by economy, religion, a certain political point of view or one man - with no one with none of these to look over their shoulder...
Anonymous
Fredericia, Denmark
Free press works for your freedom, for democracy, for development
Anonymous
Dominican Republic
Because people need to be informed as fully as possible to fully exercise their right to know and their right of choice. It's an individual and collective right. It's democracy.
Eric Mettout
Deputy Editor L'Express - France
Caring about freedom of press is caring about yourself - as a citizen in an open, free, human and democratic society. If that's not your point, then just don't care.
Jan Thomsen
Berliner Zeitung/Berliner Kurier - Germany
If you want to make the right decisions for yourself, your family, your city, your country and the world, you just can't do without free press that will give you a balanced, fact-checked account of what really – REALLY – is happening.
Anonymous
Helsinki, Finland
"Without free press, it is impossible to get building blocks to such opinions, that one can create him/herself. Every organisation, governement ect. always explain things in such a way, that is the most profitable for it. Journalists have an unique stand: they are the only ones who are able to ask questions directly from organisations, governements, businesses ect. Even if every organization ect. is on social media, no average social media -user can ask them hard questions."
Anonymous
Finland
Independent journalism is the only guarantee of true democracy, journalists must guard the truth. Politics without the control of independent journalism always loses
Mario Pappagallo
Direttore URBES Magazine G medico scientifico del Corriere della Sera - Italy
In the absence of a free and vibrant media no amount of light not even the sun's would be sufficient to illuminate the earth.
Mohammed Adow
Senior Correspondent Aljazeera English - Kenya
People should find some alternative way to be informed as major press companies are all held by bilionnaire to protect their business
Anonymous
Strasbourg, France
Journalism is -- and should be -- about truth. It's about stories that bring the unknown into the light and hold people accountable for their actions.
Anonymous
Decatur, Georgia
In an era in which politicians publish any absurdity they want on social media and through the outlets they own, these networks of respectable news organisations and independent reporters remain the last defence against propaganda.
Mihai Popescu
VICE - Romania
The matter of free speech, including the free press, it's the foundation of what it is to be human in a free society. You are free to do or say whatever you like, but you are always responsible for it. A free press is one of the basic institutions that makes that kind of freedom a possible way of creating a society. The press makes everyone responsible.
David Wingren
Dagen - Sweden
Right now, we can see at Chemnitz what happens when people rely on fake news and social media rumours instead of correct and trustworthy information.
Anonymous
Germany
People should care because press freedom is the only way to ensure that we have some control over how we run our lives
Anonymous
New Delhi, India
The freedom of press is necessary to ensure journalists can deliver clear information about all aspects of society, no matter how discomforting it might be to political leaders. So that people can make their opinion about what goes on in their city/region/country and go to the poll with and informed mind. This is utterly important in Switzerland, a country where people vote more than any other place in the world.
Boris Busslinger
Le Temps - Switzerland
To preserve democracy and their own freedom
Bernard Monnet
20 Minutes - Switzerland
Print publications (largely) ensure content is researched, fact checked, and is unbiased in nature. True, that depends on the outlet in question, but there are still publications who see providing fact based news as their civic duty.
Anonymous
Ireland
Because leaving the dissemination of information solely in the hands of the government and private entities is a grave threat to democracy as we know it.
Anonymous
Jerusalem, Israel
As politics gets ever-more tribal, you'll need someone who doesn't owe his or her fealty to one of those tribes. That person is a journalist who (should) only have to answer to the Truth.
Dave Lucas
WJLA 24/7 News - USA
Freedom of press is necessary for freedom and freedom is necessary to live.
Marco Basti
Tribuna Italiana - Argentina
Almost everything you want or need to know about beyond your immediate family and friends comes from the media; perhaps you take us for granted now, but if the decline of our industry continues, your understanding of your town, your community, your country will be profoundly reduced.
Anonymous
New Zealand
The public must understand that without press the society is dead
Anonymous
Lagos, Nigeria
The press looks out for your interests. We are taxpayers, parents, voters, drivers, consumers - we are you. Those who have power and influence want to divide us because by dividing us, they can operate in the shadows, remaining in power and amassing great riches at your expense. Journalists are flashlights. They shine light into the shadows to let you see how power and influence operates, so you can make informed decisions about the world you want to live in. Journalists are not perfect, sometimes the light can be distorted by human frailty and the same forces that would seek to discredit us. But even a distorted light helps to dispel the shadows. That is why the freedom of the press must be protected. That is why journalism is essential.
Nicole MacAdam
Financial Post Executive Producer (National Post) - Canada
Keep the world from being controlled by a handful of powerful men and their companies
Stephane Parent
Radio Canada International - Canada
The public deserves to know the truth about what is happening around us, not from the government or other entity, but from the unbiased press. Protecting press freedom will allow this.
Anonymous
Manila, Philippines
Because people can do so many bad things when no one is watching.
Anonymous
Warsaw, Poland
We are the eyes and ears of all who need someone to bear witness
Marcella Bernardo
NEWS1130 Radio Vancouver - Canada
If you want to stay clever, cool-headed and unsuggestible, you need very good journalism and the only way for it is protecting the freedom of press.
Ondřej Stratilík
Euro (news weekly) - Czech Republic
Protecting freedom of press means protecting your own freedom
Anonymous
The DailBucharest, Romaniay Telegraph - Australia
To have a true information about the world
Anonymous
Moscow, Russia
Because information is a war and citizen/consumers are losing it
Loris Guémart
La Gazette en Yvelines & La Gazette de la Défense - France
No democracy without freedom of press
Philippe Dupuy
Grand Reporter Nice Matin - France
Press is guardian of democracy
Anonymous
Belgrade, Serbia
Not to be swayed by power and money
Anonymous
Gwang-ju, South Korea
You'll have a headache when you wake up without an independent press, without a journalist free to report what they've seen. But this day, it would be too late.
Olivier Berger
La Voix du Nord - France
The freedom of the press is necessary because without it democracy as we have known it is not democracy at all. Instead it is a system in which those who get elected are competely unaccountable.
Michael Clifford
The Irish Examiner - Ireland
People are too influenced by some policies that override freedom of thought. Only a freedom of press can help to maintain the freedom of thought and therefore the pillars of democracy.
Anonymous
Madrid, Spain
It is very important, both to protect, and also facilitate for the free press to report on every issues that may be concerned in a society. The free press is important, not only for the people to examine and review the state, but also for revealing inconveniences in, both society and the state to enable society to develop.
Anonymous
Karlstad, Sweden
There is no democracy without freedom of press. Because without freedom of press, you don't matter. Your voice, your opinion, can't be heard.
Francesca Borri
Freelancer Journalist - Italy
If we would like to continue to build democracy, freedom of the press must be protected
Milka Tadić Mijović
Centre for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro - Montenegro
Independant, unbiased information and clear statements are a necessary basis for democratic processes
Anonymous
Zurich, Switzerland
Free speech and the subsequent freedom of the press, when used responsibly, is a vital part of ensuring that people are both informed and able to express an opinion.
Anonymous
Hua Hin, Thailand
A free press is the cornerstone of a democratic society. If it's gone, how will you know what needs to change?
Alexia Russell
Newsroom.co.nz - New Zealand
Freedom of press is a pillar of real democracy
Roman Imielski
Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland
Journalists are the watchdogs, the people that challenge the powers that be. It will always be essential to have them around, especially in this crazy times where 'some people' seem to think that facts are merely opinions.
Anonymous
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Future can only be built with free minds, free voices.
Anonymous
Ankara, Turkey
If politicians and/or companies are buying media outlets our freedom of speech and freedom of building our own opinion is in danger.
Anna Meister
Luzerner Rundschau - Switzerland
The press is the public's first line of defense against politicians and governing bodies that are incompetent or corrupt. If the press is silenced, the public is not only silenced as well but is also deprived of truth.
Marcia Martinek
Editor Herald Democrat - USA
Journalism with integrity, and a free press, are vital in helping the public at large to discern the truth of a situation. An educated populace will make better decisions, which is why demagogues like Donald Trump decrying any news he doesn't agree with or that doesn't show him in a positive light as 'fake' is highly dangerous in skewing the truth. Likewise when predominently right wing corporations own the main UK news outlets, they flood the market with their biased agenda reporting.
Anonymous
London, UK
Conventional news, and ‘truth’ are in jeopardy. The freedom of the press is essential in a true democracy to hold our government and all organisations to account.
Anonymous
London, UK
Much of government that affects the average citizen is local and unless you attend your town and county board meetings, talk to local officials and everyday citizens in town, how do you know what's happening. Well, the reporters for your local newspaper attend town and county board meetings, talk to local officials and everyday citizens in town, then make that information available to you. We are where you can't be.
Bruce A Scruton
New Jersey Herald - USA
To properly function as a representative democracy, citizens need to be able to make informed decisions about the representatives they choose and to understand the actions taken on their behalf. Responsible journalism is the most powerful means through which individual citizens can empower themselves to make decisions that best align with their needs, values and beliefs.
Michael Tsai
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - USA
It has been said by historians that “in establishing American independence, the pen and press had merit equal to that of the sword.” People may not realize the importance of the press and its role in our freedom, until it is taken away.
Anonymous
Brimley, Michigan, USA
Without the press, the most privileged of us will be increasingly all-powerful without fear of shame or retribution. Look at what happened to Gawker — taken down by a rich white guy with a grudge.
Anonymous
New York City - USA

If you wish to see the full list of quotes or all quotes for a specific country or region, please get in touch with elizabeth@sweetspotpr.com.

Methodology

To conduct this study, we sent this poll to over 1,000 journalists (including conservative and liberal media outlets, as well as everything in between) around the world and allowed them to respond between 24.08.2018 and 16.10.2018, when the poll was closed. We received 365 answers in total, with journalists from 52 countries.

The questions in the poll were as follows:

  1. In one word, what defines journalism in your country right now?
  2. Please can you give us a quote, talking not to the government, nor to your colleagues or bosses, but to the greater public, on why people should care about protecting the freedom of press.
  3. What do you think is the biggest threat to journalism today?

The possible options for question 3 were as follows: Declining Ad/Print Revenue, Online News Outlets, Social Media, Corporations Buying Media Outlets, Governmental Crack-Down on Free Press, Fake News, Staff Cuts Meaning One Journalist Must Now Do the Work of Ten and Violence Against Journalists.

Where answers were received in a language other than English, these were omitted from the global results, but can be requested.

In order to be able to compare the answers and see if they differed depending on where in the world journalists live and work, we split the results into six regions. Due to a lower number of respondents, answers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East have been combined. The six regions are defined as follows:

  • Rest of Europe: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, UK.
  • Europe Nordics: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway.
  • North America: Canada, USA.
  • Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela.
  • Middle East, Africa and Asia: Georgia, Israel, Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Botswana, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Russia.  
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.

If you wish to see the responses from a particular country, please get in touch and we can supply that for you. Additionally, if you wish to translate any of the content into your native language, please feel free, but we ask that for the quotes you keep them as close to the original meaning as possible.