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The Backstory: A media freedom podcast

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Soft censorship, hard impact: How governments manipulate media (The Backstory S1E6)

It is increasingly rare to find instances of direct censorship of media in the world today. But indirect censorship, called soft censorship, is thriving. It manifests itself through government pressure on media groups through advertising decisions and restrictive legislation. Less violent than kidnapping and murdering journalists, it is as existential a threat to journalism. In this episode: - Adrián López Ortiz, CEO of Noroeste (, media group in northwestern...


Fact or fake? Navigating the age of misinformation & fake news (The Backstory S1E5)

Journalists and news organisations today are seeing a shift in the use of social media, from engagement to propaganda and the spreading misinformation, or so-called fake news. Facebook and other tech platforms are increasingly under pressure to change how they present information and sort truth from lies. But journalists themselves are also coming up with solutions. This episode looks at their fight to control the narrative of a given story. It’s a fight against propagandists, whether...


It's personal: female journalists facing harassment, and what to do about it (The Backstory S1E4)

Journalism can be a dangerous job and for female journalists, there is the added layer of sexual violence. Even when they are not working on stories that put them in physical danger, they face harassment and threats online. This episode looks at the specific threats that female journalists face -- in the field, online and in the workplace -- and what they, and the profession, can do about it. WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Director, Andrew Heslop, and the production team, speak with: - Stella...


Social media and journalism: The good, the bad and the ugly (The Backstory S1E3)

Social media has opened new channels for journalists to connect with their audiences, but with mixed results. With the rise of trolling, online harassment and the manipulation of social media, how do journalists and editors see the role of social media today? How are journalists adapting? How can they move forward in these seemingly chaotic times? WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Director, Andrew Heslop, speaks with: - Karabo Rajuili, advocacy coordinator for the AmaBhungane center for Investigative...


Show me the money: Censorship + financial independence (The Backstory S1E2)

How do you run an independent media organisation in a country where the government imposes censorship rules? How do you support a successful media company without folding to pressure from your funders or your sponsors? The internet has exploded traditional media funding models. And yet, in some parts of the world, legacy media - even print! - remain a strong source of independent information. How are these companies surviving? In this episode of The Backstory, WAN-IFRA Press Freedom...