Freedom Of The Press Under Attack Worldwide

The Freedom Of The Press Is Under Attack, You Need To Start Paying Attention

Standing up for free speech has never been so important.


This past weekend, 30-year-old Bulgarian investigative journalist Victoria Marinova was raped and killed, her body found in a park in the city of Ruse in northeastern Bulgaria. She had been the host of a new talk show called "Detective," an outlet for investigative reporters to expose corruption in a country widely known as one of the most corrupt nations within the European Union, and one of the worst in terms of freedoms granted to the press.

While investigators and Interior Minister Mladen Marinov disregarded the case as nothing more than a rape and murder, others within the international community, such as Sven Giegold, a German member of the European Parliament, fear that her brutalization and murder are warnings to those whom would speak out against widespread misuse of E.U. funds, among a host of other illegalities committed by the Bulgarian government.

Her death signals the fourth high-profile journalist slain in Europe since 2017, among them Mr. Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova (who were slain after Mr. Kuciak began investigating connections between top government officials and organized crime in Slovakia) and Ms. Caruana Galizia (who was killed by a bomb planted underneath her car after researching money laundering and fraud amongst the Maltese business and political elite). These deaths were meant to serve as a political message against those whom would fight back against corruption and blatant infringements of law by the upper class.

The threat against free speech spans across continents to the Middle East, as U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and is presumed dead, allegedly for criticizing Saudi Arabia's continued role in relation to the conflict in Yemen (in which at least 6500 civilians have been killed), as well as his dissident take on the inhumane manner in which the Kingdom repressed opposition from human rights activists, intellectuals, and religious leaders alike.

While Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Washington decries any allegations of his death by the government as false and baseless, as no body was recovered, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called upon the Saudi leadership to prove that Khashoggi left the consulate. His death was also seen as an attempt by an oppressive regime to silence the voices of dissent against abject cruelty and unjust punishment of those who dare to stand up for their fellow human beings against an autocratic system of government.

This strategy of silencing the press is not uncommon in totalitarian leadership — indeed, almost every tyrannical government in history has controlled the stream of information leaking out into the collective populace.

During his rise to the Chancellor's, Adolf Hitler undermined journalists who attempted to speak the truth about his genocidal policies by destroying media credibility (very much in the same manner that current U.S. President Donald Trump is doing now) to establish total control for the Nazi Party takeover, and Joseph Stalin exerted an iron grip on the media outlets that dared to oppose the policies of the Kremlin, halting free speech until the 1980s.

It's a simple tactic, but all the more effective for the terror it inspires amongst the citizens controlled by the regime. By effectively holding sway over the manner in which news is disseminated amongst the people, a regime can spread information supporting its stance and utilize propaganda to maintain a semblance of order amongst its constituents. If any dare to oppose their policies, crushing them in a public manner allows that regime to showcase its might as well as discourage any form of objection against their platform, instilling fear into would-be protestors and thereby preserving power over the masses.

Needless to say, these killings have undermined the concept of the freedom of the press and have shown the world that the hand of tyranny still exists and must be stopped. The right to free speech and expression of diverse thought is a universal liberty that we all have the authority to claim as human beings. None should deny us from this ubiquitous license, and it is, therefore, a duty of humanity to rise up against the tyranny that threatens to encroach itself upon our inalienable rights.

I don't pretend to presume that this is an easy task for anyone, but I do know that oppressors who deny the basic constitutions of human decency to their people must be denied at every opportunity, lest we fall into darkness. For the sake of our future as free beings on this planet, we must fight back against those whom would suppress our voices, and we must stand as one people against tyranny in order to prevail and bring about a new dawn.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.


Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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