(July 22): The press has rarely been under attack as it is today. Hong Kong’s new national security legislation has chilled reporting in a territory that was long a beacon of free speech. Russia’s harassment of current and former journalists has this month alone included detentions, searches and a conviction. Meanwhile, in the US, where press freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution, President Donald Trump regularly refers to critical media as “enemies of the people.”
This is bad news for investors as well as journalists. Fund managers need cheap, unfettered access to information to thrive in the long term. Yet big money rarely wades in to defend free media.
Consider how dark the picture has become over the past decade. At the end of 2019, there were 248 journalists in jail, not far off double the number a decade earlier.