Free journalism is under threat. In fact, there is not a free journalism that hasn’t a lurking threat, whether it is economic models and technology, the advertisement or democracies’ crisis, fake news and fake journalists, the attempts to manipulate, persecutions, major or petty corruption…

Journalism always had to assert itself free because the fact alone that it exists is a threat. How many messengers were killed by Genghis Khan just because they were bearers of bad news? And they weren’t even journalists.

Yet all crises represent a big opportunity for reinvention. Never so much information is consumed as it is today. And it has never been so vital in decision making.

The challenge to make this activity profitable to all the companies that actually produce it and to its professionals, to journalists and other activities without whom it would not exist, has to be a common goal.

But not at any price. These days, information in general and journalism in particular have a key mission and responsibility: to fight misinformation by using knowledge and truth as weapons. In order to achieve that, they must conquer the public by intelligence without belittling emotion (and not the other way around).

Here at the CCPJ our mission is to aknowledge journalists that practice journalism, by granting them a license. It is also our mission to help setting the ethical and deontological boundaries of everyday journalistic practice. As we all know, it is a difficult task and rules not always suffice.

We must go back to the principles. So, let’s start from the beginning: I hereby invite you to revisit the Journalist Statute as if it were the first time. We are also going to do it, bearing in mind the new realities and challenges, while being open to make values and procedures clearer.

Because, as put by the Brazilian journalist Cláudio Abramo, “Journalism is, first and foremost, the daily practice of intelligence and the everyday exercise of character.”

 

Leonete Botelho
Lisbon, April 10th 2019