How to support journalists in a Christian way?




Journalism is a vulnerable profession. In some countries, being a reporter can even be dangerous. Photo AFP, Matthkeu Alexandre

In 2022, the number of journalists jailed for their work hit a new global record of 363. At least 66 journalists were killed because of their coverage.

Detailing the worst offenders, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports: “Iran is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, with 62 behind bars. China and Myanmar hold the second and third slots with 43 and 42 jailed journalists, respectively. Turkey and Belarus, respectively, rounded out the top five.” An increasing number of journalists feel unsafe doing their jobs. At the same time, good journalism is crucial in sustaining democratic societies.

Giving a voice

Peter Crumpler. Photo Facebook

Against this background, what can Christians and churches do to support the role of the media in holding those in power to account, giving a voice to those who wider society often overlooks and fighting back against fake news and disinformation?

Peter Crumpler, a former communications director for the Church of England, offers five suggestions:

1) Prayer for the Media

Pray for all who work in and with the media. The network “Christians in Media” organises an annual Day of Prayer for the Media and publishes materials to help.

2) Don’t say “fake”

Resist using terms like ‘fake news’ to describe news reports you disagree with. Remember when you respond to, or share, news stories on social media that real people wrote the reports and are described in them. Value journalists’ freedom in democracies – even if you do not always agree with their standpoints.

3) Worthy calling

Encourage young people in the church to consider media careers. Journalism is hard work but a worthy calling for any Christian seeking to serve the God of Truth.

4) Support media

Support your local media. Many local newspapers and community-based stations struggle financially. Build links with your local journalists and supply them with news.

5) Pay for news

Pay for the media you use. Christians can support high-quality journalism by taking out online or print subscriptions. That way, we help to finance high standards in journalism.

Reporters taking notes. Photo AFP, Georges Gobet

Church in Fleet Street

“In a world of disinformation, fake news and post-truth, Christians need to be discerning in who we believe and which media we follow,” says Crumpler. “We need to seek out quality journalism and support it. We also need to seek out a range of views –including those that challenge ours– so that we have our opinions tested. Otherwise, we live in ‘echo chambers’ where everyone agrees. Jesus said the Truth would set us free. Good, high-quality journalism plays an important role in seeking out that truth – and in holding power to account.”

Did you know St Bride’s in London’s Fleet Street is known as ‘The Journalists’ Church’? It has an altar dedicated to prayer for journalists and holds special services and media events. A range of organisations also campaign for media freedom worldwide and are worthy of support.



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