During the height of the Cold War, few places on earth matched the unrelenting repression and the heavy hand of state-backed terrorism that was prevalent in East Germany. At the heart of this pervasive tyranny that was launched against everyday Germans was the Stasi, a secretive police organization very similar to the SS that was tasked with suppressing free speech, quashing all aspirations for liberty and ensuring compliance to the dictates of the government. To flee this harsh life of totalitarianism and unending fear of persecution, countless thousands risked their lives by scaling the Berlin Wall to get to West Germany.
There is, of course, a reason why I bring up this historical tidbit on this beautiful Friday night. You see my fellow Americans, our nation is slowly devolving into a police state; one day in the near future, we could wake up and understand intimately the horrors East Germans endured for more than four decades. Before you dismiss this possibility, just realize that despotism rarely develops overnight. Instead, it gestates in the womb for a long time before a crisis breaks the water and births an autocracy that remands society behind the iron bars of intrusions and governmental big brotherism.
While most are caught up in the frenzy of politics, the manufactured outrages of mainstream news and the circus of social media, the ones who are feeling the heat and being squeezed by this oncoming fascism are independent journalists who are being treated like heretics for having the temerity to do their jobs. I speak from experience; last Friday Twitter permanently suspended my account that had nearly 10,000 followers that took me five years to amass in one fell swoop because I had the nerve to criticize Joy-Ann Reid. Unfazed, I started a new account but I immediately felt the fallout, the number of people who visit this website dropped by more than 35% since last week.
Last Friday, #Twitter permanently suspended my old account that had 8K followers accomplished organically over 5 years without paying for followers. I started back at 0 & now have 300+ followers. If you support indie journalism, RT this & let your followers know about my work.
— Teodrose Fikremariam (@Teodrose_Fikre) March 12, 2021
I am far from the only one who has felt the heavy hand of corporate censorship; just this week alone, Vanessa Beeley was booted off YouTube and had all her catalogue of reporting from conflict zones in the Middle-East erased because she challenged the bogus narratives being spoon fed to CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post et al by the US government. The good folks at the Convo Couch were demonetized by YouTube because they went against the ever Orwellian “community standards”. Whitney Webb was booted off Patreon for the same spurious reasons that Vanessa and me were silenced. The war on independent journalism is very real and increasing in ferocity on a year to year basis. Deplatforming the carnival barker Alex Jones was but a pretext to go after independent journalists who actually pose a threat to the monopolized hustles of corporate-state media.
So what can we do to overcome this malicious and coordinated campaign to marginalize independent journalists and to trample on all our rights by extension? The most important thing is to double up on our efforts when it comes to supporting people who insist on speaking truth to power instead of patronizing corporate toadies who pretend to be journalists like Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity. It is not enough to just follow our work on social media given the lengths the establishment are going to crush our voices. Empowering intendent journalists requires a level of proactiveness like bookmarking websites, making it part of your daily web surfing time to visit our sites and signing up for to our newsletters.
Beyond that, I am writing this article tonight to ask you to take part in a campaign we are launching tomorrow under the banner of #IndependentJournalistDay. Starting tonight and lasting throughout this weekend, I am asking you to send tweets, post on Facebook and update your status on any other social media site that you use with that hashtag. The objective is two fold: 1) celebrate independent journalists who do break their backs to report news with little fanfare and even lesser earnings and 2) highlight the ongoing war against independent journalists by the US government, mainstream media and corporations that own both.
All too often, we jump on trending topics only to feed into the narratives that are being spun by the establishment that are meant to condition us to accept the loss of our privacy and the eradication of free speech. This is our chance to use social media corporations’ algorithms to our benefit; if enough people jump on #IndependentJournalistDay, we can make it trend and in the process give a much needed bump to independent journalists and shine a spotlight on the ongoing campaign to silence their voices. I am taking part in #IndependentJournalistDay to recognize unsung heroes who keep the spirit of muckrakers alive; I ask you to do the same and highlight the war on free speech in the process. Click To Tweet
“An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship, it is a crime against our nature as human beings.” ~ Salman Rushdie
If you appreciated this write up and believe that articles like this should be widely read by others and if you likewise support truly independent journalism, I ask you to support my endeavor. As noted in the Ghion Journal statement of purpose, we are a media entity that disavows corporations and we do not raise ad revenue, we are 100% supported and empowered by our readers and writers.
The donate button at the top goes to the Ghion Journal general funds to offset costs and to grow our capacities, the contribution button found the bottom of each article goes 100% to the respective authors. Contribute you can, but most importantly, continue to share these discussions. We are planting seeds, it is up to the readers to nurture it.
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