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Commentaries in Crisis: World Press Day Celebrated Amidst COVID-19

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

By: Victoria Grinthal

May 3 is an international celebration of journalism and communication called World Press Freedom Day. Since 1993, it has been devoted to honoring those who represent and inform the world through visual, virtual or physical media. For this year, during quarantine, lots of scrutiny was put on the event as people accused the press of multiple claims that greatly varied. As people are disregarding the information and warnings the press has given them, many believe that the press is leading us in a negative direction, thereby ignoring World Press Freedom Day completely.

As the day was spent across the world, some want to highlight the journalists for helping share information and issues with the public, even along the lines of the thanks given to essential workers at this time. Others, however, are set to believe that the coronavirus is not as bad as they say it is in the press, and we should return to normalcy (although more than a million cases have been confirmed and more than 72,000 deaths recorded in the US). Some protestors have even been comparing this time to that of Nazi Germany, saying we are all powerless under these mandates. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings have now been the stage for loud protests that can be heard behind the information he is trying to share.

Noting that these protesters have mainly been lobbying for a restart to the economy since millions are currently unemployed and need funds to support families, it is clear that times are very tough right now. People have little money to bring food into their houses, and many who have not been exposed to the virus think that this is an exaggeration over a

Some people accuse the press of damaging society flu-like bug. That is

with their reporting on the pandemic. understandable from an

outside point-of-view, but as we on Long Island and New York City are in the epicenter of this virus, it is no question that people are getting sick and anyone could be a carrier for COVID-19. It truly angers me to see that people do not listen to Cuomo or our local legislators, like those near my childhood park, who have ripped the caution signs from the playgrounds and do not wear masks while running and sitting on swings. The press, newscasters and journalists included, aren’t trying to trick anyone with this pandemic. They want to spread the information that, if trusted, could help us get rid of the virus faster and in turn give us a quicker restart to the economy.

As a college journalist and editor, I completely get that some sources are better than others, and not everyone has the same intentions for their audiences. However, every journalist is just as vulnerable to this as we are, and yet they work around the clock to inform the public as they also try to steer clear of the virus with their families. This global pandemic has seen the effects in millions of people, including 64 journalists who were exposed while reporting and later died. Although some people are taking advantage of the population (like those selling masks and hand sanitizer at insane prices), we are all in this together. As sappy as that sounds, we all want this to be over and we won’t be able to get there if people don’t start listening to their leaders when they say that this is a dangerous situation.

For all journalists, from The Delphian and beyond, I want to thank you for your daily service to keep everyone educated and informed during this time. Thank you to every frontline worker, from medical professionals and grocery clerks to writers, publishers and broadcasters who share important information daily for the sake of everyone in their communities. I do hope that next #WorldPressFreedomDay can be seen as a celebration instead of being a complicated blur.

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